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Reprod Domest Anim. 2006 Feb;41(1):39-40.

Effects of beta-OH butyrate on bovine granulosa and theca cell function in vitro.

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Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.


In this study, the effects of beta-OH butyrate (BHB) levels, associated with a negative energy balance, on bovine granulosa and theca cell function were investigated in vitro. Granulosa and theca cells of healthy large follicles (>8 mm), obtained from slaughterhouse ovaries, were cultured in serum free medium containing 0, 0.5, 1 or 1.5 mm BHB and 3 mm glucose, to mimic the situation in the early postpartum dairy cow. Hormone concentrations (progesterone, oestradiol-17beta and/or androstenedione) in spent medium and cell numbers were measured after 48 h of culture. No effects of BHB on theca cell numbers or on steroid production were observed. In granulosa cells, all BHB treatments evenly increased cell numbers (p < 0.05), while they reduced progesterone and oestradiol-17beta production per cell (p < 0.05). These effects may be attributed to the use of BHB as energy source which is however differently metabolized than glucose. Conclusively, in the presence of physiological glucose concentrations BHB can modulate granulosa but not theca cell function in vitro.

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