Subclinical mastitis disrupts oocyte cytoplasmic maturation in association with reduced developmental competence and impaired gene expression in preimplantation bovine embryos
. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 2016
, 1653 - 1662. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Subclinical chronic mastitis was induced to examine the effects on oocyte developmental competence. Uninfected Holstein cows were intramammary administrated with serial (every 48 h for 20 days) low doses of toxin of Staphylococcus aureus origin (Gram-positive; G+), endotoxin of Escherichia coli origin (Gram-negative; G–) or sterile saline (control). Follicular fluid of toxin- and saline-treated cows was aspirated from preovulatory follicles and used as maturation medium. Oocytes harvested from ovaries collected at the abattoir were matured and then fertilised and cultured for 8 days. The percentage of oocytes undergoing nuclear maturation, determined by meiotic nuclear stages, did not differ between groups. Cytoplasmic maturation, determined by cortical granule distribution, was affected by both toxins (P < 0.05). The percentage of oocytes cleaving to 2- and 4-cell embryos and of embryos developing to the blastocyst stage was lower in both toxin-treated groups than in the control group (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the total cell number in Day 8 blastocysts among the groups; however, the apoptotic index was higher in both toxin-treated groups compared with control (P < 0.05). The relative abundance of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (prostaglandin G/H synthase and cyclo-oxygenase; PTGS2) mRNA increased, whereas that of growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) decreased in matured oocytes. In addition, PTGS2 expression increased and POU class 5 homeobox 1 (POU5F1) expression decreased in 4-cell embryos developed from both G+ and G– oocytes. Thus, regardless of toxin type, subclinical mastitis disrupts oocyte cytoplasmic maturation and alters gene expression in association with reduced developmental competence.
Comparing the effects of heat stress and mastitis on ovarian function in lactating cows: basic and applied aspects
. 8th International Conference on Farm Animal Endocrinology 2016
, S218 - S227. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Reduced reproductive performance of lactating cows is strongly associated with environmental and pathogenic stressors. This review summarizes the most recent knowledge on the effects of acute or chronic heat stress (HS) and acute or chronic intramammary infection (IMI) on ovarian function. It also offers various approaches for improving the fertility of cows under chronic HS or IMI. Comparing the 2 stressors reveals a few similarities in the mode of alteration in the hypothalamus–pituitary–ovarian axis, in particular, in the follicle and its enclosed oocyte. Both HS and IMI cause a reduction in the preovulatory LH surge, with a pronounced effect in cows with IMI, and consequently, ovulation is being delayed or inhibited. Both stresses induce changes in follicular growth dynamics, reduce follicular steroidogenesis, and disrupt follicular dominance. Unlike their effects on follicular function, the effects of mastitis and HS on corpus luteum (CL) function are debatable. Under chronic summer thermal stress, several, but not all, studies show reduced progesterone secretion by the CL. Subclinical mastitis does not affect CL function, whereas the effect of clinical mastitis is controversial; some show a reduction in progesterone, whereas others do not. Both stresses have been found to impair cytoplasmic and nuclear maturation of oocytes, associated with reduced embryonic development. These findings have provided insights into the mechanism by which HS and IMI compromise fertility, which enable developing new strategies to mitigate these effects. For instance, treatment with GnRH and PGF2α to induce follicular turnover successfully improved conception rate in subpopulations of HS cows during the summer, in particular, primiparous cows and cows with high BCS. The “Ovsynch” program, also based on the use of GnRH and PGF2α, has been shown to improve conception rate of subclinical mastitic cows, most likely due to better synchronization of timing of ovulation with that of AI. Supplementing progesterone after AI improves conception rate of HS cows, particularly those with postpartum uterine disease and low BCS. It should be noted that similarities between the 2 stressors do not necessarily suggest a shared mechanism. Although not clear enough, an additive deleterious effects of HS and IMI on reproduction is suggested.