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Nutrition and metabolism: what links with follicle and embryo development in mammals?

INRA Prod. Anim. 29(2) 103-116


1 PRC, CNRS, IFCE, INRA, Université de Tours, 37380, Nouzilly, France
2 Department of Comparative Biological Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane 8 South Mimms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, Royaume-Uni


The influence of weight and energy intake on fertility animals and humans has been known for a long time. Animals in poor condition, or losing weight, have generally poor reproductive performance. Economic losses associated with infertility can be very important and for example in cattle, they can considerably exceed the cost of artificial insemination. Some evidence suggests that the effects of nutrition on reproductive function are mediated through dietary components such as lipids, glucose, amino acids, and minerals acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis but also directly on the gonads. These nutritional effects may also be mediated through changes in metabolic hormones such as insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, growth hormone, ghrelin, thyroid hormones or hormones produced and secreted by the white adipose tissue. Here, we will review the known effects of these nutritional metabolites, nutrients and metabolic hormones on the follicular development, the activity of ovarian cells, oocyte quality and on early embryonic development in different mammalian species.