This study compared the effect of different management systems on endocrine parameters, and gene expression of members of the somatotrophic axis in the liver and endometrium of beef heifers. Twenty-two 709-days-old heifers submitted to Early Weaning (EW, n = 8), Traditional Weaning (TW, n = 7) and TW plus creep feeding (TW+CF, n = 7) were used. Animals were synchronized with two prostaglandin (PG) injections at 11-day interval (Oestrus = Day 0). Blood samples were collected daily for progesterone (P4) determination, and endometrial and liver biopsies on Days 7 and 16 for transcript determination of members of the somatotrophic axis. Progesterone concentrations were greater on Days 15 and 16 (p < .02) of the cycle in TW+CF than TW and EW heifers. On Day 7, TW+CF heifers expressed greater liver total growth hormone receptor transcripts than TW heifers (p = .05) and greater insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein 3 mRNA than both EW and TW groups (p < .05). On Days 7 and 16, TW+CF expressed more endometrial IGF1 mRNA than the other groups (p < .01). We conclude that increasing the plane of nutrition of nursing calves may have a long-term effect on the functioning of the somatotrophic axis both in the liver and in the endometrium.
Keywords: beef cattle; campos grassland; early life; nutritional management.
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