Intrafollicular conditions as a major link between maternal metabolism and oocyte quality : a focus on dairy cow fertility
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Reproduction, fertility and development. - East Melbourne
, p. 1-12
University of Antwerp
Reduced oocyte and embryo quality are recognised as major factors in the problem of disappointing fertility in high producing dairy cows. This review aims to shed more light on the importance of the intrafollicular environment in the subfertility problem in dairy cows. Metabolic disturbances associated with negative energy balance (NEB) early postpartum are associated with ovarian dysfunction. Changes in the growth pattern of the ovarian follicle during a period of NEB can indirectly affect oocyte quality. Furthermore, a maternal metabolic disorder (linked with NEB or nutritionally induced) may alter the endocrine and biochemical composition of the follicular fluid, the micro-environment of the growing and maturing female gamete. The maturing oocyte is very sensitive to any perturbation in its direct environment and in vitro maturation models revealed that some of these metabolic changes reduce the oocytes developmental competence. Also, embryo quality is significantly reduced due to maturation in adverse conditions. Well balanced and timed oocyte metabolism and gene expression are crucial to safeguard an optimal oocyte development. In that perspective, metabolome and transcriptome parameters of the oocyte may serve to predict reproductive success rates. Finally, there is growing evidence that adverse conditions for oocyte growth and maturation may also jeopardise the health and performance of the offspring.