Modulation of expression of estrus, steroidogenesis and embryo development following peri-artificial insemination nutrient restriction in beef heifers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nutritional changes immediately after insemination cause increased embryonic mortality, but the mechanisms controlling this are not well known. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of nutritional change on estrus expression, steroid concentrations, peripheral and uterine luminal fluid metabolites, and embryo quality in beef heifers. Heifers (n=139) were assigned to one of two pre-artificial insemination (AI) dietary treatments: LOW ( 90% NEm) or HIGH ( 139% NEm). Heifers were on treatment for 33-36days before AI (d0) when half of the heifers in each treatment were randomly reassigned to generate four treatments; HIGH-HIGH, HIGH-LOW, LOW-HIGH, and LOW-LOW. Heifers remained on treatments until embryo collection (d 6-8). Negative energy balance was achieved among LOW heifers as demonstrated by body weight loss and increased NEFA concentrations (P<0.05). Pre-AI treatment influenced expression of estrus (P=0.05; HIGH 80.44.0% vs. LOW 69.44.2%). Estradiol concentrations and interval to estrus were not affected by treatment (P> 0.55); however, progesterone concentrations were reduced among LOW compared to HIGH (3.570.27, 4.640.26ng/mL, respectively; P=0.004), and heifers maintained on the HIGH pre-AI diet had consistently greater concentrations of progesterone from d 0 to d 8 (P=0.014). Pre-AI treatment influenced embryo stage (P=0.05; HIGH 3.610.32 vs. LOW 2.720.30). Post-AI treatment affected embryo grade (P=0.02; HIGH 1.780.23 vs. LOW 2.640.27). In summary, pre-AI nutrient restriction caused decreased expression of estrus, reduced progesterone concentrations after AI, and negatively impacted embryo development, while post-AI restriction hindered embryo quality.

published proceedings

  • Anim Reprod Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Epperson, K. M., Beck, E. E., Rich, J., Northrop-Albrecht, E. J., Perkins, S. D., Zezeski, A. L., ... Perry, G. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Epperson, Kaitlin M||Beck, Erin E||Rich, Jerica JJ||Northrop-Albrecht, Emmalee J||Perkins, Stephanie D||Zezeski, Abigail L||Ketchum, Jaclyn N||Zoca, Saulo Menegatti||Walker, Julie A||Geary, Thomas W||Perry, George A

publication date

  • January 2022