Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Do Cytoplasmic Lipid Droplets Accumulate in Immature Oocytes from Over-Conditioned Repeat Breeder Dairy Heifers?

Awasthi, H.; Saravia, F.; Rodriguez-Martinez, H.; Bage, R.


One of the main sources of repeat breeding in dairy cattle, caused by fertilization failure or early embryonic death, is metabolic stress during lactation. Nutrition seems also to play a role when the condition is seen in heifers, where oocyte cytoplasmic maturation is impaired. To determine whether over conditioning affects oocyte morphology, immature oocytes were collected by ovum pick-up (OPU) twice weekly during 5 weeks from three over-conditioned repeat breeder dairy heifers (RBH) and two normal virgin heifers (VH, controls) of the Swedish Red breed, monitored by body weight and condition. Oocyte quality was assessed under stereomicroscope and further examined by transmission electron microscope for accumulation of cytoplasmic lipid deposits. After OPU, the RBH yielded more low quality oocytes (60% vs 52% for VH, p = 0.14). The relative occupancy of osmophilic lipid droplets in the cytoplasm was higher in oocytes of bad quality compared with good ones, especially in RBH (p = 0.08) but also in VH (p = 0.11). Moreover, the oocytes from over-conditioned RBH showed higher amounts of cytoplasmic lipid deposits both in good (p = 0.14) and, even more prominent, in bad quality oocytes (p = 0.06). Such accumulation of lipid droplets may imply increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, hinder cytoplasmic maturation and lead to subfertility, as accounted in over-conditioned repeat breeders of the Swedish Red breed.

Published in

Reproduction in Domestic Animals
2010, Volume: 45, number: 5, pages: E194-E198
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell