Dietary fats varying in their fatty acid composition differentially influence follicular growth in cows fed isoenergetic diets. Academic Article uri icon


  • The working hypothesis was that dietary fats differing in fatty acid composition would differentially influence ovarian follicular growth. Cows (n = 27) were fed isoenergetic, isonitrogenous, and isofibrous diets containing no added fat (control; CT, n = 7) or diets supplemented with fats containing primarily saturated (SAT, n = 7), polyunsaturated (PU, n = 7), or highly polyunsaturated (HPU, n = 6) fatty acids. Coincident changes in serum lipid metabolites, insulin, and GH and the concentration of IGF-I in large and medium-sized follicles also were examined. Body weights and body condition scores remained similar for all groups throughout the study. Polyunsaturated fat increased (diet x day, P = .06) the number of medium-sized follicles on d 5 through 9 of a synchronized estrous cycle within 3 wk of onset of feeding and maximized (P < .001) this to a fourfold difference at ovariectomy after 7 wk. Fats with predominantly SAT and HPU tended (P < .10) to produce these effects after 7 wk. All fat-supplemented diets increased serum concentrations of total cholesterol (P < .05), GH (P < .05), and follicular fluid IGF-I in large follicles (P < .065) compared to CT but differentially influenced serum concentrations of insulin. Polyunsaturated fat stimulated a marked increase (P < .001) in serum insulin relative to controls within 3 wk, whereas SAT and HPU increased (P < .05) serum insulin only after 6 to 7 wk. We conclude that consumption of PU fatty acids stimulates a greater rate of ovarian follicular growth in cattle compared to CT, AT, and HPU. Future research should investigate the potential role of insulin in mediating PU effects on follicular growth.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Thomas, M. G., Bao, B., & Williams, G. L.

citation count

  • 74

complete list of authors

  • Thomas, MG||Bao, B||Williams, GL

publication date

  • September 1997