Negative energy balance in dairy cows is associated with specific changes in IGF-binding protein expression in the oviduct

Fenwick, M A and Llewellyn, S and Fitzpatrick, R and Kenny, D A and Murphy, J J and Patton, J and Wathes, D C (2008) Negative energy balance in dairy cows is associated with specific changes in IGF-binding protein expression in the oviduct. REPRODUCTION, 135 (1). pp. 63-75.

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Abstract

Negative energy balance (NEB) during early lactation in dairy cows leads to an altered metabolic state that has major effects on the production of IGF family members. Low IGF-I concentrations are associated with poor fertility and therefore we aimed to determine whether NEB exerts a direct effect on IGF expression in the postpartum oviduct. Multiparous Holstein cows were allocated to two treatments (each n=6) designed using differential feeding and milking regimes to produce either mild NEB (MNEB) or severe NEB (SNEB). Animals were slaughtered in week 2 of lactation when divergent metabolic profiles were evident. Oviducts were collected for RNA analysis by real-time RT-PCR and in situ hybridisation. Quantitative measures in oviduct gene expression were obtained for all members of the IGF family (IGF-I/II, IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP) 1-6 and receptors for IGF types 1 and 2), insulin A/B, GH, glucocorticoid and oestrogen alpha/beta. Expression of IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-6 (both of which have a high affinity for IGF-II) was decreased in SNEB relative to MNEB (P<0.05). No other gene was altered by NEB, but IGF-II, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-5 and IGFBP-6 all showed differential expression in different regions of the oviduct. These results indicate that, in addition to low circulating IGF-I after calving, NEB may also influence IGF availability in the oviduct indirectly through changes in specific IGFBP expression. It is possible that the predicted increased signalling by IGF-II may perturb embryo development, contributing to the high rates of embryonic mortality in dairy cows.