To evaluate the effects of a polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supplement on reproductive parameters of suckled beef cows, two experiments were conducted. In Experiment (Exp.) 1, 60 primiparous cows were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: CTRL - 1.36 kg/day of corn gluten feed (CGF) and MEGR - 1.36 kg/day of CGF and 0.23 kg/day of calcium salts of soybean oil. Supplementation occurred from 30 days before fixed-time artificial insemination (TAI) until 7 days post-TAI. The expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISG) was measured on days 18 and 21. Pregnancy rates were diagnosed on days 30 and 100. Treatment altered plasma fatty acid profile (P<0.05), however, did not change cow BW (P=0.52) or body condition score (BCS) (P=0.52). Treatment did not alter (P=0.12) pregnancy rates to TAI or final pregnancy rates (P=0.56). Treatments did not impact messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the ISG OAS1 or MX2 on days 18 (P=0.67; P=0.96, respectively) or 21 (P=0.72; P=0.17, respectively). Length of gestation was greater (P=0.02) for MEGR, however, treatments did not alter calf birth weight (P=0.20). In Exp. two, 66 multiparous cows were assigned to one of two treatments: MEG - 0.65 kg/day of CGF+0.23 kg/day of calcium salts of palm oil and MEGR - 0.65 kg/day of CGF+0.23 kg/day of Ca salts of soybean oil. Cows were supplemented from 30 days prepartum to 30 days postpartum. On day 35 after TAI, pregnancy status, embryo crown-to-rump length (CRL), and plasma concentrations of pregnancy-specific protein-B (PSPB) were evaluated. Treatment altered plasma fatty acid profile (P<0.05). In addition, cows from the MEG treatment had greater BW (P<0.01) and BCS (P<0.01) than those in the MEGR treatment, as well as heavier calves at weaning (P=0.03). Treatment did not affect resumption of estrous cycle (P=0.29). There were no differences in pregnancy rates to TAI (P=0.87) or final pregnancy rates (P=0.29). No differences between treatments were detected on CRL (P=0.24) and plasma concentrations of PSPB (P=0.46). Birth weight (P=0.12) and calving distribution (P=0.52) were not altered. We concluded that PUFA supplementation altered plasma fatty acid profile, however, did not impact the remaining reproductive parameters evaluated.
- beef cattle
- interferon-stimulated genes
- pregnancy-associated glycoproteins