Interpretive Summary: Effects of administering exogenous bovine somatotropin to beef heifers during the first trimester on conceptus development
By Anne Zinn
In livestock production systems, offspring survival and performance are major determinants of profitability; fetal programming plays a large role in both survival and future performance because nutrient availability to the fetus during gestation can have lasting impacts on offspring development. A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science evaluated the administration of bovine somatotropin and its effects on fetal and placental development in beef heifers, including steroid- and eicosanoid-metabolizing enzyme activity when administered during the first trimester. The research team hypothesized that bovine somatotropin administration would increase circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 and increase fetal and placental development during early gestation, and that bovine somatotropin would decrease the activity of enzymes associated with steroid and eicosanoid metabolism resulting in greater local concentrations of steroids and eicosanoids to maintain pregnancy.
Results of the present study demonstrated that the administration of bovine somatotropin during the first trimester of gestation increased plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1, which resulted in an increase in fluid, a decrease in placentome number, and a umbilical diameter, but failed to alter fetal development. Additional research is required to better understand the potential placental function benefits of an increase in growth hormone by insulin-like growth factor 1 activity.
The full paper can be found on the Journal of animal Science webpage.