Dietary energy source at two feeding levels during lactation in primiparous sows. I. Effects on glucose, insulin and LH and on follicle development, weaning-to-estrus interval and ovulation rate

H. van den Brand, S.J. Dieleman, N.M. Soede, B. Kemp

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Abstract

Our objective was to study the effects of dietary-induced insulin enhancement during and after lactation on the reproductive performance of primiparous sows. During a 21-d lactation period, 48 sows were allotted to a 2x2 factorial experiment. Treatments were feeding level (high or low; 44 MJ or 33 MJ NE/d) and dietary energy source (fat or starch). After weaning, all sows received the same amount of feed (31 MJ NE/d from weaning to estrus and 17.5 MJ NE/d from breeding until slaughter) of the same energy source as fed during lactation. On d 7, 14, and 21 of lactation and d 22 (weaning), blood samples were taken every 12 min for 12 h and analyzed for plasma glucose, insulin, and LH. Sows were slaughtered on d 35 of the subsequent pregnancy, and ovulation rate was assessed. During lactation, postprandial plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were higher for sows fed the starch diet than for those fed the fat diet (P<.001), whereas feeding level had no effect. Basal and mean LH concentrations were not affected by treatments. The LH pulse frequency on d 7 of lactation was greater for sows fed the starch diet than for those fed the fat diet (.52 vs .17 pulses/12 h; P = .03). The high compared with the low feeding level resulted in a greater LH pulse frequency on d 21 of lactation (.89 vs .47 pulses/12 h; P = .05) and on d 22 (8.63 vs 5.77 pulses/12 h; P = .02), in a higher percentage of sows that exhibited estrus within 10 d after weaning (96 vs. 63 P = .01), and a tendency for a higher ovulation rate (18.0 vs. 16.2; P = .09). Plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were not related to any of the LH traits. The LH pulse frequency after weaning was related to the weaning-to-estrus interval (WEI) and was best explained by a linear-plateau model. In sows fed the low feeding level, follicle size after weaning was correlated with LH pulse frequency after weaning and with the WEI, whereas in sows fed the high feeding level these correlations were not significant. Our results indicate that an improved dietary-induced insulin status during and after lactation does not overcome the inhibitory effects of lactation on subsequent reproduction at any of the feeding levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-404
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume78
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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