Nutritionally Induced Relationships Between Insulin Levels During the Weaning-to-Ovulation Interval and Reproductive Characteristics in Multiparous Sows: II. Luteal Development, Progesterone and Conceptus Development and Uniformity

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ContentsInsulin-stimulating sow diets before mating improve piglet uniformity. We studied effects of nutritionally induced differences in insulin levels during the weaning-to-ovulation interval (WOI) on luteal development, progesterone secretion and pre-implantation conceptus development and uniformity (d10). To create insulin contrasts, 32 multiparous sows were fed either a dextrose plus lactose containing diet (each 150 g/day) at 4 h intervals (DL treatment) or an isocalorically control diet (containing soybean oil) at 12 h intervals (CTRL treatment) during the WOI. After ovulation, all sows received a standard gestation diet at 12 h intervals. Ovulation rate, plasma progesterone levels, pregnancy rate and embryo survival did not differ between treatments. CTRL sows had a higher total luteal weight (11.2 vs 9.7 g; p = 0.03) than DL sows. Conceptus diameter at d10 of pregnancy tended to be larger in CTRL sows (diameter: 7.1 vs 6.4 mm; p = 0.07). Conceptus uniformity was not influenced by treatment. Insulin area under the curve (AUC) and mean insulin during the WOI were positively related with mean progesterone (β values were 0.78 (ng/ml)/1000 μU and 0.14 (ng/ml)/(μU/ml) for AUC and mean, respectively; p < 0.05) and maximal progesterone (β values were 1.46 (ng/ml)/1000 μU and 0.27 (ng/ml)/(μU/ml) for AUC and mean, respectively; p < 0.05) levels during the first 10 days of pregnancy, but not with conceptus development and uniformity. In conclusion, high insulin levels during the WOI seem to be beneficial for progesterone secretion in sows, probably mediated through beneficial effects of insulin on follicle development.

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