Effects of parity and body condition at parturition on endocrine and reproductive parameters of the cow

Ana Meikle, M. Kulcsar, Y. Chilliard, H. Febel, C. Delavaud, D. Cavestany, P. Chilibroste

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152 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of parity (multiparous vs primiparous) and body condition score (BCS; <3.0 or ≥3.0, lean vs fat) at parturition on metabolic and endocrine profiles from 1 month before to 2 months after parturition were studied in 42 Holstein cows grazing on improved pastures. BCS and milk production were determined every 2 weeks. Non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), insulin, IGF-I, leptin, thyroxine (T4) and 3,3′,5-tri-iodothyroinine (T3) were determined in plasma every 10 days. Progesterone was determined three times per week after parturition. Primiparous cows had a lower BCS during the early postpartum period and produced less milk than multiparous animals. Primiparous cows had higher NEFA concentrations and they presented more samples with BHB concentrations of >1 mmol/l than multiparous cows. Multiparous cows had higher T3, T4 and IGF-I concentrations, while fat cows had higher leptin and IGF-I concentrations. All hormone concentrations were diminished in the first week postpartum. Primiparous cows and fat cows presented a steeper decay of IGF-I and leptin around parturition than multiparous cows and lean cows. While thyroid hormones and IGF-I showed increasing concentrations from approximately day 30, leptin concentrations remained low until the end of the experimental period. The initiation of ovarian cyclicity was delayed in primiparous cows and especially in primiparous lean cows, consistent with longer intervals from parturition to first service and to conception. The endocrine signals most likely to inform the reproductive axis regarding a negative energy balance were IGF-I and leptin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-737
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology

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