Nutritionally Induced Relationships Between Insulin Levels During the Weaning-to-Ovulation Interval and Reproductive Characteristics in Multiparous Sows: I. Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle Development, Oestrus and Ovulation

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ContentsTo get more insight in how insulin secretion patterns and corresponding insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels are related to luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion, follicle development and ovulation, 32 multiparous sows were fed either a dextrose plus lactose-containing diet at 4 h intervals (DL; each 150 g/day) or an isocaloric control diet at 12 h intervals (CTRL; containing soybean oil) during the weaning-to-ovulation interval (WOI). Insulin parameters (basal, peak levels and mean insulin) and IGF-1 levels during the WOI were similar for both treatments, but the insulin secretion pattern differed (related with feeding frequency and meal sizes). Oestrus and ovulation characteristics were not influenced by treatment. The LH surge was higher in CTRL compared with DL sows (3.73 vs 3.00 ng/ml; p = 0.03). Average diameter (6.5 vs 6.1 mm; p = 0.08) and uniformity (CV: 11 vs 15%, p = 0.02) of follicles ≥3 mm at day 4 after weaning was higher in CTRL compared with DL sows. Basal insulin levels were positively related with follicle diameter at ovulation (β = 0.05 mm/(μU/ml); p = 0.04) and negatively related with LH surge level (β = −0.07 (ng/ml)/(μU/ml); p = 0.01). Insulin area under the curve (AUC) (β = 0.037 (ng/ml)/1000 μU; p = 0.02) and IGF-1 levels (β = 0.002 (ng/ml)/(ng/ml); p < 0.01) were positively related to basal LH level around the LH surge. From these data, we conclude that insulin and IGF-1 levels during the WOI are related to LH secretion and follicle development. Not only the absolute level of insulin seems important, but also the pattern within a day in which insulin is secreted seems to affect LH secretion and development of pre-ovulatory follicles.

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