Ovarian follicular characteristics, embryo recovery, and embryo viability in heifers fed high-fat diets and treated with follicle-stimulating hormone. Academic Article uri icon


  • Postpubertal beef heifers (n = 55) were used to examine the effects of high-fat diets, independently of energy intake, on nonesterified fatty acid and lipoprotein metabolic patterns, ovarian follicular dynamics, and embryo recovery/viability after FSH superstimulation. High-lipid (HL) diets (5.4% added fat) increased (P < .01) serum concentrations of cholesterol, but not of nonesterified fatty acids, during the 35-d period before FSH treatment. Development of medium-sized (5 to 9.9 mm) follicles was enhanced (P < .05) during this period in heifers fed the HL diet. The HL diet increased total cholesterol (P < .05) and progesterone (P = .14) concentrations in follicular fluid obtained at ovariectomy (n = 10) 60 h after the onset of FSH treatment, but neither estradiol-17 beta nor androstenedione was affected. Granulosa cells recovered from FSH-induced, estrogen-active follicles in heifers fed the HL diet produced greater quantities of progesterone (P = .06) and less estradiol-17 beta (P < .05) in vitro than did granulosa cells from heifers fed the normal lipid diet. Dietary treatment did not influence FSH-stimulated recruitment of medium and large follicles, number of ovulations, embryo recovery, or embryo viability. Data suggest that increments in dietary fat intake can alter specific aspects of ovarian steroidogenic potential and can increase the population of medium-sized follicles theoretically available for maturation and harvest during the estrous cycle. However, conditions that limited the latter process in the current experiment are not understood and require further investigation.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Ryan, D. P., Spoon, R. A., & Williams, G. L.

citation count

  • 52

complete list of authors

  • Ryan, DP||Spoon, RA||Williams, GL

publication date

  • November 1992