2002 Volume 64 Issue 8 Pages 657-665
The current review aims to establish insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) as the factor that signals nutritional status to the reproductive axis, and show that assessment of IGF-I in blood early postpartum during the negative energy balance (NEB) period could be used to predict both nutritional and reproductive status in dairy cattle. The review also explores the effect of nutritional status on circulating IGF-I concentrations and the endocrine role of IGF-I on the reproductive axis. IGF-I plays an important role in gonadotropin-induced folliculogenesis, ovarian steroidogenesis and corpus luteum (CL) function. It also modulates pituitary and hypothalamus function. IGF-I clearly has an endocrine role on the reproductive axis. Severe under nutrition significantly reduces plasma IGF-I concentrations. During the critical period of NEB in high yielding dairy cattle early postpartum, IGF-I concentrations are low in blood and its levels are positively correlated to energy status and reproductive function during this period. Changes in circulating IGF-I immediately postpartum may help predict both nutritional and reproductive status in dairy cattle. IGF-I is therefore one of the long sought factors that signal nutritional status to the reproductive axis.