Nutritional restriction of pre-pubertal liveweight gain impairs ovarian follicle growth and oocyte developmental competence of replacement gilts

W. H. E. J. van Wettere, M. Mitchell, D. K. Revell, P. E. Hughes

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The objective was to investigate the effects of moderate restriction of pre- and pen-pubertal liveweight gain on ovarian development and oocyte meiotic competence. At 70 d of age, and 27.7 +/- 0.4 kg liveweight (LW), 64 Large White/Landrace crossbred gilts were allocated to two treatment groups (n = 32 gilts/treatment); one group was fed to attain a LW of 70 kg at 161 d of age (LIGHT), while the other group was fed to reach 100 kg LW (HEAVY). At 161 d of age, half of the gilts in each group (n = 16) were fed to gain LW at 0.5 kg/d (LOW), while the remaining half (n = 16) were fed to gain LW at 1.0 kg/d (HIGH) between 161 and 175 d of age, at which point they were killed and ovaries collected. For each gilt, surface antral follicles were counted and aspirated according to three size categories: 1-2.9 mm (small); 3-6 mm (medium); and > 6 mm (large). Follicles were pooled for each size class and treatment. Cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COC) recovered from small and medium follicles were matured in vitro (IVM) for 44 to 46 h, and meiotic maturation assessed. There was an effect of treatment (LIGHT versus HEAVY) on the number of medium sized follicles: 25.1 +/- 2.59 versus 34.3 +/- 2.60 (P <0.05). The ovaries of LOW gilts had more small follicles and fewer medium follicles compared to those of HIGH gilts: 92.8 +/- 8.35 versus 59.8 +/- 5.24, and 25.1 +/- 2.59 versus 32.5 +/- 2.86 (P <0.05). Target LW at 161 d did not affect meiotic progression of oocytes. However, LOW compared to HIGH LW gain between 161 and 175 d resulted in fewer oocytes reaching MII (0.40 versus 0.54; P <0.05). In conclusion, moderately restricting feed intake impaired follicle growth beyond 3 mm and reduced oocyte meiotic competence. Further, although a carry-over effect of long-term feed restriction on follicle growth was evident, acute changes in feed intake during the 14 d prior to ovary collection had the greatest effect on oocyte nuclear maturation in vitro. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1310
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

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