Reduced fertility in high-yielding dairy cows: are the oocyte and embryo in danger? Part 1: The importance of negative energy balance and altered corpus luteum function to the reduction of oocyte and embryo quality in high-yielding dairy cows
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Reproduction in domestic animals. - Berlin
, p. 612-622
University of Antwerp
Fertility in high yielding dairy cows is declining, and there is increasing evidence to presume that oocyte and embryo quality are major factors in the complex pathogenesis of reproductive failure. In this report we present an overview of possible mechanisms linking negative energy balance (NEB) and deficiencies in oocyte and embryo developmental competence; specifically, in the high producing dairy cow. Changes in follicular growth patterns during a period of NEB can indirectly affect oocyte quality. The endocrine and biochemical changes, which are associated with NEB, are reflected in the microenvironment of the growing and maturing female gamete, and likely result in the ovulation of a developmentally incompetent oocyte. Even after an oocyte is successfully ovulated and fertilized, a full-term pregnancy is still not guaranteed. Inadequate corpus luteum function, associated with reduced progesterone, and probably also low insulin-like growth factor concentrations, can cause a suboptimal microenvironment in the uterus that is incapable of sustaining early embryonic life. This may partly account for the low conception rates and the high incidence of early embryonic mortality in high yielding dairy cows.