The objective of this was to study the association between metabolic parameters and oocyte quality in postpartum lactating dairy cows as assessed by oocyte morphology and development after fertilization and culture in vitro. Holstein-Friesian spring-calving cows were used (n = 16, parity 3.0 ± 0.36, weight at calving 611 ± 16.2 kg, previous 305-d milk yield 6,454.0 ± 276.4 kg). Bodyweight (BW) and body condition score were recorded at approximately 2 wk before expected calving date, at calving, and then weekly until the end of the experiment (approximately 80 d postpartum). Blood plasma samples were collected weekly, starting 2 wk before the expected calving date and continuing until the end of the experiment and were analyzed for nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), insulin, insulin-like growth factor-I, and glucose. Transvaginal oocyte recovery was carried out twice weekly on each cow for a period of approximately 12 wk starting 14 d after calving until approximately 80 d postpartum. A linear decrease in BW was observed from calving (d 0) to d 28, after which it remained stable. Body condition score decreased from 14 d precalving, reaching a nadir at approximately d 35 to 42, after which it increased to the end of the period. Nonesterified fatty acid concentrations were significantly elevated from the week before calving until d 42 postcalving, whereas BHBA concentration was significantly elevated from calving to d 49 postcalving. Insulin-like growth factor-I concentration dramatically decreased from d -14 to a nadir on d 7. A significant increase in glucose concentration occurred from d -7 to d 0, followed by a precipitous decrease to d 7. Based on the metabolic profiles (particularly NEFA and BHBA concentrations), data from d 0 to 42 postpartum (period 1) were compared with corresponding data from d 42 to 80 (period 2). Apart from body condition score, all of the physiological parameters measured (milk yield, BW, and blood metabolites) differed significantly between the 2 periods. In particular, insulin-like growth factor-I, insulin, and glucose concentrations were higher post-d 42, whereas BHBA and NEFA were lower compared with pre-d 42 postpartum. The number of oocytes recovered per session and oocyte quality grade did not differ between periods. Positive associations of follicles aspirated and insulin, BHBA, and NEFA were detected. The number of oocytes recovered was positively associated with milk yield, BW, and glucose and NEFA concentrations. The number of cleaved oocytes was positively associated with BW and NEFA concentration. In conclusion, the data do not provide evidence of an effect of lactation-induced metabolic stress on oocyte developmental competence in the postpartum dairy cow assessed in terms of morphological quality and ability to develop following in vitro fertilization.
University College Dublin ->