The low fertility of repeat-breeder cows during summer heat stress is related to a low oocyte competence to develop into blastocysts.

Departamento de Reprodução Animal da Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil 05508-000.
Journal of Dairy Science (Impact Factor: 2.57). 05/2011; 94(5):2383-92. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2010-3904
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It was hypothesized the lower fertility of repeat-breeder (RB) Holstein cows is associated with oocyte quality and this negative effect is enhanced during summer heat stress (HS). During the summer and the winter, heifers (H; n=36 and 34, respectively), peak-lactation (PL; n=37 and 32, respectively), and RB (n=36 and 31, respectively) Holstein cows were subjected to ovum retrieval to assess oocyte recovery, in vitro embryonic developmental rates, and blastocyst quality [terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells and total cell number]. The environmental temperature and humidity, respiration rate, and cutaneous and rectal temperatures were recorded in both seasons. The summer HS increased the respiration rate and the rectal temperature of PL and RB cows, and increased the cutaneous temperature and lowered the in vitro embryo production of Holstein cows and heifers. Although cleavage rate was similar among groups [H=51.7% ± 4.5 (n=375), PL=37.9% ± 5.1 (n=390), RB=41.9% ± 4.5 (n=666)], blastocyst rate was compromised by HS, especially in RB cows [H=30.3% ± 4.8 (n=244) vs. 23.3% ± 6.4 (n=150), PL=22.0% ± 4.7 (n=191) vs. 14.6% ± 7.6 (n=103), RB=22.5% ± 5.4 (n=413) vs. 7.9% ± 4.3 (n=177)]. Moreover, the fragmentation rate of RB blastocysts was enhanced during the summer, compared with winter [4.9% ± 0.7 (n=14) vs. 2.2% ± 0.2 (n=78)] and other groups [H=2.5% ± 0.7 (n=13), and PL=2.7% ± 0.6 (n=14)] suggesting that the association of RB fertility problems and summer HS may potentially impair oocyte quality. Our findings provide evidence of a greater sensitivity of RB oocytes to summer HS.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present study evaluated the efficacy of superstimulation with p-FSH (Folltropin) before the ovum pick-up (OPU) on IVP in lactating and nonlactating Holstein donors. A total of 30 Holstein cows (15 lactating and 15 nonlactating) were blocked by lactation status to one of two groups (control or p-FSH), in a cross-over design. On a random day of the estrous cycle, all cows received an intravaginal progesterone device and 2.0 mg IM of estradiol benzoate (Day 0). Cows in the control group received no further treatment, whereas cows in the p-FSH group received a total dosage of 200 mg of p-FSH on Days 4 and 5 in four decreasing doses 12 hours apart (57, 57, 43, and 43 mg). On Day 7, the progesterone device was removed, and OPU was conducted in both groups (40 hours after the last p-FSH injection in the p-FSH-treated group). There was no difference between groups (P = 0.92) in the numbers of follicles that were aspirated per OPU session (17.2 ± 1.3 vs. 17.1 ± 1.1 in control and p-FSH-treated cows, respectively); however, p-FSH-treated cows had a higher (P < 0.001) percentage of medium-sized follicles (6-10 mm) at the time of the OPU (55.1%; 285/517) than control cows (20.8%; 107/514). Although recovery rate was lower (60.0%, 310/517 vs. 69.8%, 359/514; P = 0.002), p-FSH-treated cows had a higher blastocyst production rate (34.5%, 89/258 vs. 19.8%, 55/278; P < 0.001) and more transferable embryos per OPU session were produced in the p-FSH group (3.0 ± 0.5 vs. 1.8 ± 0.4; P = 0.02). Regardless of treatment, non-lactating cows had a higher blastocyst rate (41.9%, 106/253 vs. 13.4%, 38/283; P = 0.001) and produced more transferable embryos per OPU session (3.5 ± 0.5 vs. 1.3 ± 0.3; P = 0.003) than lactating cows. Thus, superstimulation of Holstein donors with p-FSH before OPU increased the efficiency of IVP. In addition, non-lactating donors had higher percentage of in vitro blastocyst development and produced more embryos per OPU session than lactating cows.
    Theriogenology 04/2014; · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this retrospective study were to investigate the relationship between temperature-humidity index (THI) and conception rate (CR) of lactating dairy cows, to estimate a threshold for this relationship, and to identify periods of exposure to heat stress relative to breeding in an area of moderate climate. In addition, we compared three different heat load indices related to CR: mean THI, maximum THI, and number of hours above the mean THI threshold. The THI threshold for the influence of heat stress on CR was 73. It was statistically chosen based on the observed relationship between the mean THI at the day of breeding and the resulting CR. Negative effects of heat stress, however, were already apparent at lower levels of THI, and 1 hour of mean THI of 73 or more decreased the CR significantly. The CR of lactating dairy cows was negatively affected by heat stress both before and after the day of breeding. The greatest negative impact of heat stress on CR was observed 21 to 1 day before breeding. When the mean THI was 73 or more in this period, CR decreased from 31% to 12%. Compared with the average maximum THI and the total number of hours above a threshold of more than or 9 hours, the mean THI was the most sensitive heat load index relating to CR. These results indicate that the CR of dairy cows raised in the moderate climates is highly affected by heat stress.
    Theriogenology 01/2014; · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Oocytes from dairy cattle and buffaloes have severely compromised developmental competence during summer. While analysis of gene expression is a powerful technique for understanding the factors affecting developmental hindrance in oocytes, analysis by real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) relies on the correct normalization by reference genes showing stable expression. Furthermore, several studies have found that genes commonly used as reference standards do not behave as expected depending on cell type and experimental design. Hence, it is recommended to evaluate expression stability of candidate reference genes for a specific experimental condition before employing them as internal controls. In acknowledgment of the importance of seasonal effects on oocyte gene expression, the aim of this study was to evaluate the stability of expression levels of ten well-known reference genes (ACTB, GAPDH, GUSB, HIST1H2AG, HPRT1, PPIA, RPL15, SDHA, TBP and YWHAZ) using oocytes collected from different categories of dairy cattle and buffaloes during winter and summer. A normalization factor was provided for cattle (RPL15, PPIA and GUSB) and buffaloes (YWHAZ, GUSB and GAPDH) based on the expression of the three most stable reference genes in each species. Normalization of non-reference target genes by these reference genes was shown to be considerably different from normalization by less stable reference genes, further highlighting the need for careful selection of internal controls. Therefore, due to the high variability of reference genes among experimental groups, we conclude that data normalized by internal controls can be misleading and should be compared to not normalized data or to data normalized by an external control in order to better interpret the biological relevance of gene expression analysis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e93287. · 3.73 Impact Factor


Available from
May 17, 2014