Initial body condition score affects hormone and metabolite response to nutritional restriction and repletion in yearling postpubertal beef heifers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Twenty Simmental x Angus, half-sibling, postpubertal heifers (initial BW of 443 +/- 9 kg) were allotted randomly into 2 treatment groups to evaluate if initial BCS affects response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis to metabolic signals elicited by energy restriction and repletion. During a preliminary feeding period, diets were formulated so that each heifer in the designated treatment would reach a BCS of 5 (moderate condition; MOD) or a BCS of 7 (heavy condition; FAT). Once each heifer had reached desired BCS, diets were formulated to supply 30% of NE(m) requirements until each heifer became anestrous (serum concentrations of progesterone < 1 ng/mL; restriction period). Blood collections took place on d 1 of each period, on d 43 of energy restriction and d 44 of energy repletion, and when heifers were confirmed to recommence estrous cycles. When heifers were cycling, their estrous cycles were synchronized to ensure hormone sampling occurred during late diestrus or early proestrus. Energy restriction resulted in decreased concentrations of LH (FAT, P = 0.02; MOD, P < 0.001), IGF-1 (FAT, P < 0.001; MOD, P = 0.003), and insulin (P < 0.001); in contrast, concentrations of GH (P < 0.001) and plasma urea nitrogen (P < 0.001) increased. During repletion, LH concentration increased (P = 0.03) in MOD condition heifers but was still less (P = 0.002) than d 1 of restriction, whereas LH concentration tended to increase in FAT heifers (P = 0.06) until it was similar (P = 0.40) to d 1 of restriction. Repletion also increased concentrations of IGF-1 (P < 0.001), insulin (P < 0.001), and glucose (P < 0.001), whereas concentrations of GH (P < 0.001), NEFA (P < 0.001), and plasma urea nitrogen (P < 0.001) decreased. For both treatments, concentrations of GH after repletion were similar (FAT, P = 0.88; MOD, P = 0.10) to those on d 1 of restriction. After repletion, FAT condition heifers had decreased concentrations of IGF-1 (P < 0.001), insulin (P < 0.05), and glucose (P < 0.001), but greater concentrations of acetate (P < 0.01) and butyrate (P < 0.05), than MOD heifers. Anestrus or resumption of estrous cycles seems to be activated gradually in response to dietary manipulation, unrelated to certain metabolite changes.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Cassady, J. M., Maddock, T. D., DiCostanzo, A., & Lamb, G. C.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Cassady, JM||Maddock, TD||DiCostanzo, A||Lamb, GC

publication date

  • July 2009