Parenteral Zinc Supplementation Increases Pregnancy Rates in Beef Cows
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Zinc (Zn) is required for normal reproductive performance in cattle. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of subcutaneous injection of 400 mg Zn at the beginning of fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) on preovulatory follicle and corpus luteum (CL) size, plasma estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) concentrations, and pregnancy rates in beef cows. Copper (Cu) concentration and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in plasma were also evaluated. Zinc supplementation at the beginning of the FTAI protocol (day 0) increased the area of preovulatory follicle (APF, day 9; P = 0.042) and plasma P4 concentration (day 16; P = 0.01), whereas plasma E2 concentration (day 9) and area of CL (ACL; day 16) were not modified by Zn supplementation in cows with adequate plasma Zn concentration. Zinc supplementation in Zn-deficient cows increased ACL with respect to controls (P = 0.048) but did not modify plasma E2 concentration. Pregnancy rate on day 41 after FTAI was higher in cows supplemented with Zn compared with controls (80.95% and 51.61%, respectively; P = 0.042). Plasma Zn and Cu concentrations on days 7, 9, and 16 were not affected by Zn supplementation. In conclusion, the results obtained in the present study determined that parenteral Zn supplementation at the beginning of the FTAI protocol increased preovulatory follicle size, plasma P4 concentration, and pregnancy rates in beef cows.
KeywordsZinc FTAI Cattle Corpus luteum Progesterone
We are grateful to Mr. Juan Américo Anchordoquy, owner of Establecimiento “Las Magnolias,” and Mr. Oscar García Alzueta, owner of Establecimiento “Doña Emma,” for allowing us to use their animals and facilities. The authors also appreciate Mr. Ricardo Pagola and M.V. Martín Daniele cooperation in the development of this work. Thanks are also due to A. Di Maggio for manuscript correction and editing.
J.M.A., J.P.A., N.N, E.M.G., and C.C.F. conceived and designed the experiments; E.M.G, N.A.F., and J.M.A. conducted the experiments; M.J.G. analyzed the data; C.F., J.M.A., and L.E.F. critically wrote and revised the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This work was supported by Grants PICT 2016-2131 and PICT 2016-3727 from Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica de la República Argentina (MINCyT).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
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