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J Dairy Sci. 2006 Sep;89(9):3360-74.

Pregnancy, bovine somatotropin, and dietary n-3 fatty acids in lactating dairy cows: I. Ovarian, conceptus, and growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor system responses.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


The objective was to examine effects of bovine somatotropin (bST), pregnancy, and dietary fatty acids on reproductive responses in lactating dairy cows. Beginning at approximately 17 d in milk (DIM), a comparison was made of isoenergetic diets comprising supplementary lipids of whole cottonseed vs. calcium salts of fish oil enriched lipid (FO). Ovulation was synchronized in cows with a presynchronization plus Ovsynch protocol, and cows were inseminated artificially by appointment or not inseminated (d 0 = time of synchronized ovulation; 77 +/- 12 DIM). On d 0 and 11, cows received bST (500 mg) or no bST. All cows were slaughtered on d 17. Number of cows in each group was as follows: control diet had 5 bST-treated cyclic (bST-C), 5 non-bST-treated cyclic (no bST-C), 4 bST-treated pregnant (bST-P), and 5 non-bST-treated pregnant (no bST-P) cows; and cyclic cows fed FO diet had 4 bST-treated (bST-FO) and 5 non-bST-treated cyclic (no bST-FO-C) cows. Feeding FO increased milk production, number of class 1 follicles (2 to 5 mm), and decreased insulin during the period before d 0 compared with control-fed cows. The bST increased milk production, pregnancy rate [83% (5/6) vs. 40% (4/10)], conceptus length (45 vs. 34 cm), and interferon-tau in the uterine luminal flushings (9.4 vs. 5.3 microg) with no effect on interferon-tau mRNA concentration in the conceptus. Treatment with bST increased plasma growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I. Among control-fed cows (cyclic and pregnant), bST decreased progesterone concentration in plasma. Cows fed FO had less plasma insulin than control-fed cyclic cows, and FO altered the plasma GH (bST-FO > bST-C) and IGF-I (bST-C > bST-FO-C) responses to bST injections. Endometrial IGF-I mRNA was reduced in pregnant cows and tended to decrease in those fed FO. The IGF-II mRNA was increased in the endometrium of pregnant and bST-treated cows fed the control diet. Cows fed FO had increased concentrations of IGF-II mRNA, when bST was not injected. The insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2) mRNA was increased in bST-P cows, whereas bST decreased the IGFBP-2 mRNA in all cyclic cows. In summary, bST and FO seemed to modulate reproductive responses that may be beneficial to the developing conceptus and pregnancy rate.

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