Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Impact and mechanisms of inflammatory diseases on embryonic development and fertility in cattle

Eduardo S. Ribeiro, Murilo R. Carvalho

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Inflammatory diseases are prevalent in cattle and impair fertility. Cows affected by inflammatory disease from parturition to the day before breeding have reduced fertilization of oocytes, reduced survival of zygotes to the morula stage, impaired development to early stages of conceptus elongation, reduced secretion of interferon during the period of pregnancy recognition, altered transcriptome of preimplantation conceptus cells, and increased pregnancy loss. Consequently, these cows have reduced pregnancy and calving per breeding. Reduced oocyte competence is a likely reason for the carryover effects of diseases on developmental biology, but impaired uterine environment is also involved. Effects on pregnancy survival are observed up to 5 months after the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and effects on developmental biology seem to be extended into postnatal life in pregnancies that survive until term. Although the biological mechanism mediating the effects of inflammatory diseases are still not completely understood, control of inflammation during the clinical presentation of diseases seems to alleviate the negative effects on reproductive biology. It is increasingly evident that animal health, not only at the time of breeding or pregnancy development but also in the period preceding breeding, is imperative for optimal reproduction in cattle and should always be considered in herd evaluations and managerial decisions.


dairy cattle, embryo, fertility, inflammation.


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