Hepatic mRNA expression of enzymes associated with progesterone metabolism and its impact on ovarian and endocrine responses in Nelore (Bos indicus) and Holstein (Bos taurus) heifers with differing feed intakes.


Department of Animal Reproduction, FMVZ - USP, Campus São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


The aim of this study was to evaluate circulating progesterone concentration (P4), LH pulsatility and ovarian follicular dynamics in Nelore (B. indicus) and Holstein (B. taurus) heifers under high (HDMI) and low (LDMI) dry matter/energy intakes. In addition, the effects of dry matter/energy intake and breed on hepatic expression of six genes associated with P4 metabolism (AKR1C4, AKR1D1, CYP3A4, CYP2C19, SRD5A1, and SRD5A3) was evaluated. Heifers received an intravaginal P4 device (1 g), 2 mg of estradiol benzoate (EB) i.m. and 500 μg of PGF2α at the begging of the synchronization protocol (D0). Eight days later, the P4 device was removed and all heifers received 1 mg of EB 24h later. Regardless of dry matter/energy intake, the number of recruited follicles was greater in Nelore than in Holstein heifers. In contrast, the maximum diameter of the dominant follicle was greater in Holstein than in Nelore heifers. Circulating P4 concentrations were greater in Nelore than in Holstein from D2 to D9, and in heifers receiving LDMI than those receiving HDMI from D1 to D8 of hormonal protocol. In addition, Holstein heifers had greater LH pulsatility and area under the curve of LH peaks compared to Nelore heifers. However, no effects were observed for LH values between feed intake levels. Interestingly, Holstein heifers had higher expression of SRD5A1, AKR1C4, AKR1D1 than Nelore heifers; whereas, for Nelore heifers, only the expression of CYP3A4 was higher compared to Holstein heifers. In conclusion, there are important differences in the follicular dynamics, circulating P4 and LH pulsatility concentrations that need to be considered during synchronization protocols for Nelore and Holstein breeds. More importantly, these differences appear to be at least partially modulated by the level of feed intake and the contrasting enzyme system in the liver involved with P4 metabolism between these cattle breeds.

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