Dietary α-linolenic acid from flaxseed oil improved folliculogenesis and IVF performance in dairy cows, similar to eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids from fish oil.Reproduction. 2013 Dec; 146(6):603-14.R
The objectives of this study were to determine the differential incorporation of various omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids (FAs) supplemented to dairy cows into ovarian compartments and assess the effects on IVF. Forty-two 256-day pregnant cows were supplemented with encapsulated fats, in treatments designated as i) SFA - saturated fat at 240 and 560 g/day per cow, prepartum and post partum (PP) respectively; ii) FLX - flaxseed oil at 300 and 700 g/day per cow prepartum and PP respectively; and iii) FO - fish oil at 300 and 700 g/day per cow prepartum and PP respectively. Commencing at 60 days in lactation, ovum pickup (OPU) was performed twice weekly (20 sessions; five cows per group) and in vitro maturation and IVF were conducted. The proportion of α-linolenic acid (ALA) was greater in follicular fluid (FF), granulosa cells, and cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) of FLX cows than in other groups (P<0.001). The proportion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was 6.7 times as great in FF of FO as in other groups (P<0.001); docosapentaenoic acid n-3 and DHA were detected in COCs of FO but not in others. The follicle number during OPU was higher in FLX and FO than in SFA (P<0.05), and the oocyte cleavage rate was higher in FLX and FO than in SFA (P<0.01). Also, the percentage of oocytes that developed to blastocysts tended to be higher in both n-3 groups than in SFA (P<0.1). In conclusion, both dietary n-3 FAs similarly improved folliculogenesis and IVF performance; therefore, ALA-rich botanical n-3 seems to be a satisfactory approach to improve oocyte quality.