Long-term effect of early nutrition on endocrine parameters and liver and endometrial gene expression of the members of the somatotrophic axis in Hereford heifers

Reprod Domest Anim. 2018 Aug;53(4):930-936. doi: 10.1111/rda.13190. Epub 2018 Apr 23.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Endometrium / growth & development
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Estrous Cycle / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Transcriptome