Influence of Age and Breed on Bovine Ovarian Capillary Blood Supply, Ovarian Mitochondria and Telomere Length

Cells. 2021 Oct 5;10(10):2661. doi: 10.3390/cells10102661.


Worldwide, dairy cows of the type of high-producing cattle (HPC) suffer from health and fertility problems at a young age and therefore lose productivity after an average of only three lactations. It is still contentious whether these problems are primarily due to genetics, management, feeding or other factors. Vascularization plays a fundamental role in the cyclic processes of reproductive organs, as well as in the regeneration of tissues. In a previous study, HPC were shown to have a greater ovarian corpus luteum vascularization compared to dual-purpose breeds. We hypothesize that this activated angiogenesis could likely lead to an early exhaustion of HPC's regenerative capacity and thus to premature reproductive senescence. The objective of this study was to investigate if a HPC breed (Holstein-Friesian, HF) exhibits higher ovarian angiogenesis than a dual-purpose breed (Polish Red cow, PR) and if this is related to early ovarian aging and finally reproductive failure. For this purpose, we assessed the degree of vascularization by means of ovarian blood vessel characterization using light microscopy. As indicators for aging, we measured ovarian mitochondrial size and telomere length in peripheral leukocytes. We report in this study that in both breeds the distance between capillaries became smaller with increasing age and that the mean telomere length decreased with increasing age. The only difference between the two breeds was that PR developed larger capillaries than HF. Neither a relationship between telomere length, nor the morphology of the mitochondrial apparatus and nor angiogenesis in HF was proven. Although the data trends indicated that the proportion of shortened telomeres in HF was higher than in the PR, no significant difference between the two breeds was detected.

Keywords: aging; capillary; cattle; dual purpose breed; high producing cattle; ovary; telomere; vascularization.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Breeding*
  • Capillaries / physiology*
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Organ Size
  • Ovarian Follicle / blood supply
  • Ovarian Follicle / ultrastructure
  • Ovary / blood supply*
  • Ovary / ultrastructure
  • Telomere Homeostasis*