Ovarian and uterine characteristics and onset of puberty in adolescent offspring: effects of maternal diet and selenium supplementation in sheep

Anna T Grazul-Bilska, Tammi L Neville, Ewa Borowczyk, Akanksha Sharma, Lawrence P Reynolds, Joel S Caton, Dale A Redmer, Kimberly A Vonnahme
Theriogenology 2014 April 15, 81 (7): 887-95
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of maternal diet with adequate (A) or high (H) selenium (Se) supplementation on ovarian and uterine characteristics, and onset of puberty in adolescent offspring. Sheep were fed a maintenance (M) diet with ASe or HSe levels from breeding to parturition. From Day 50 to parturition, a portion of the ewes from ASe and HSe groups was fed restricted (R, 60% of M) or excess (E, 140% of M) diet. Immediately after birth, lambs were separated from their dams and given artificial colostrum for 20 hours, followed by milk replacer. From Day 57.3 ± 0.6, ewe lambs were fed a pelleted grower diet until Day 116.3 ± 0.6 when they were transitioned to a finisher diet. From Day 99 to 180, serum samples were collected weekly from jugular vein for progesterone analysis to determine onset of puberty. Reproductive tissues were collected on Day 180.1 ± 0.4 of age. Maternal diet or Se supplementation did not affect uterine or ovarian weight and onset of puberty. However, area under the curve for progesterone was greater (P = 0.05) in ASe compared with HSe groups, and was greater in ASeM than HSeM group. In CLs, labeling index (LI; a proportion of proliferating cells) was less (P < 0.04) in HSeM than ASeM group, and in stroma was less (P < 0.05) in R and E groups than M group. Maternal diet did not affect the LI of any follicle types. For all groups combined, LI was the greatest (P < 0.001) in antral, less in early antral and secondary, and the least in atretic follicles. Our results demonstrate that maternal diet influenced ovarian but not uterine characteristics or onset of puberty. These results indicate that maternal plane of nutrition and/or Se supplementation may have specific effects on reproductive function in offspring.

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