We aimed to evaluate the effect of supplementation with sunflower seed on blood concentrations of progesterone and cholesterol and on the pregnancy rate in beef cattle subjected to timed artificial insemination (TAI) and timed embryo transfer (TET). In experiment 1, cows were received 22-day supplements containing (sunflower, n = 66) sunflower seed or not (control, n = 67) immediately after a progesterone/estradiol-based TAI protocol (Day 0). The cholesterol concentration on Day 21 and the pregnancy rate were greater (P < 0.03) in the sunflower group (148.2 ± 6.1 mg/dL and 66.7%) than those in the control group (116.0 ± 6.4 mg/dL and 47.8%). In experiment 2, heifers received an in vitro-produced embryo 7 days after the expected time of the synchronized ovulation. Heifers were separated into two supplementation groups (sunflower, n = 106 and control, n = 111) for 22 days. The plasma progesterone concentration on Day 7 was not different between the groups. However, on Day 19, the plasma progesterone concentration was greater (P < 0.0001) in the sunflower group (5.8 ± 0.4 ng/mL) than that in the control group (3.5 ± 0.4 ng/mL). A greater (P < 0.05) cholesterol concentration was observed in the sunflower group than that in the control group on Days 7 (306.0 ± 11.6 vs. 277.1 ± 11.9 mg/dL, respectively) and 19 (260.5 ± 8.0 vs. 232.0 ± 8.0 mg/dL, respectively). The pregnancy rate was greater (P = 0.01) in the sunflower-treated heifers (55.7%) than that in control-treated heifers (36.9%). Results indicate that sunflower seed supplementation increases the circulating cholesterol concentrations and potentially impacts the pregnancy rate in suckled beef cattle subjected to TAI or TET.
Keywords: Bovine; Embryo mortality; Linoleic acid; Prostaglandin; Uterus.
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