Diet-induced hyperlipidemia in cattle modifies the intrafollicular cholesterol environment, modulates ovarian follicular dynamics, and hastens the onset of postpartum luteal activity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Three experiments were conducted with female cattle during the postpartum period and during the estrous cycle to examine the effects of diet-induced hyperlipidemia on lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) metabolism, ovarian follicular dynamics, and incidence of postpartum luteal activity. Dietary-lipid effects were examined independently of metabolizable energy intake. Feeding a high-lipid (HL) diet (8% total lipid) for the first 3 wk of the puerperium (Experiment 1) increased (p less than 0.0001) the concentration of total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-CH), but not TG, within follicular fluid (FF) of estrogen-active (E-A) and inactive (E-I) follicles. Increases (1.4- to 1.7-fold) were similar in proportion to those observed in peripheral blood serum, but absolute concentrations were about 45% of that in serum. Greater than 95% of the cholesterol in FF was HDL-CH, with a greater (p less than 0.06) proportion of HDL-CH sequestered by E-A compared to E-I follicles. The HL diet increased (p less than 0.06) the number of medium-sized (3.1-9.9 mm) follicles present at ovariectomy 19-21 days postcalving and increased (p less than 0.03) concentrations of FF androstenedione in E-I follicles 5-fold. Granulosa cells from preovulatory follicles (Experiment 2) of heifers fed HL diets secreted 2.1- to 3.5-fold greater (p less than 0.03) quantities of pregnenolone and progesterone in vitro. Finally, feeding HL supplements to postpartum range cattle for 30 days increased (p less than 0.05) the incidence of ovarian luteal activity by 18% (Experiment 3). Shifts in lipid metabolic status modify reproductive potential in cattle, independently of dietary energy intake.

published proceedings

  • Biol Reprod

author list (cited authors)

  • Wehrman, M. E., Welsh, T. H., & Williams, G. L.

citation count

  • 69

complete list of authors

  • Wehrman, ME||Welsh, TH||Williams, GL

publication date

  • September 1991