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ARS Home » Plains Area » Miles City, Montana » Livestock and Range Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329737

Research Project: Alleviating Rate Limiting Factors that Compromise Beef Production Efficiency

Location: Livestock and Range Research Laboratory

Title: Effect of preovulatory follicle maturity on pregnancy establishment in cattle: the role of oocyte competence and the maternal environment

item Dickinson, S - University Of Missouri
item Geary, Thomas
item Monnig, J - University Of Missouri
item Pohler, K - University Of Tennessee
item Green, J - University Of Missouri
item Smith, M - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Animal Reproduction(Colégio Brasileiro de Reprodução Animal?)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2016
Publication Date: 9/1/2016
Citation: Dickinson, S.E., Geary, T.W., Monnig, J.M., Pohler, K.G., Green, J.A., Smith, M.F. 2016. Effect of preovulatory follicle maturity on pregnancy establishment in cattle: the role of oocyte competence and the maternal environment. Animal Reproduction(Colégio Brasileiro de Reprodução Animal?). 13(3):209-216. doi:10.21451/1984-3143-AR879.

Interpretive Summary: Artificial insemination (AI) is a valuable tool to improve genetics of a cow herd. A number of factors affect the success of using AI in cows. Some of those factors are things that can be measured more easily than others. Using ultrasound, size of the follicle containing the egg that will be released after estrus has been related to fertility. Size of the follicle around the time of estrus appears to be related to maturity of the egg. In addition, certain hormones measured at specific times have been related to fertility. These hormones play key roles with specific events necessary for pregnancy. This review covers some of these key features and their roles in pregnancy establishment in beef cows.

Technical Abstract: Reproductive technologies to synchronize estrus and ovulation in cattle have enhanced the ability to practically utilize artificial insemination to increase both genetic merit and reproductive management of beef and dairy herds. The ability to successfully synchronize a follicular wave and ovulation, in heifers and cows, has improved substantially in recent years. Consequently, pregnancy rates to a single fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) can approximate that of insemination following spontaneous estrus. Despite these advances, subsets of heifers and cows often have a physiologically immature dominant follicle at the time of GnRH-induced ovulation. These animals will exhibit reduced pregnancy rates and decreased embryonic survival if a pregnancy happens to become established. The physiological mechanisms underlying the preceding decreased fertility have been a focus of our laboratories and may include an effect of the follicular microenvironment on both oocyte competence and the maternal environment. Oocytes must have adequate opportunity to complete cytoplasmic and molecular maturation during the final stages of oocyte maturation that occur within the preovulatory follicle. Follicular status, during the proestrus period, must be such that adequate circulating concentrations of estradiol are present before FTAI to increase oviductal transport of gametes and enhance both the luteinizing capacity of granulosa cells and progesterone receptor population in the post-ovulatory uterus. Following ovulation, the follicle’s transformation to a functional corpus luteum to secrete adequate amounts of progesterone is essential for the establishment of pregnancy. The physiological status of the preovulatory follicle, prior to FTAI, greatly affects the concepts discussed above and has an important impact on pregnancy establishment and maintenance in cattle.