The nutritional conditions and immune status of dairy cows affect reproductive performance. This study was conducted with the aim to analyze the phagocytic activity (PA) and phagocytic capacity (PC) of circulating monocytes after the period of transition from pregnancy to lactation, to evaluate possible associations with duration of time period to conception following parturition. Results indicated PA was not associated with duration of time period to conception following parturition. In contrast, cows with a lesser PC conceived earlier (98 ± 9 days in milk, DIM) than those with a greater PC (168 ± 15 DIM). Based on these results, to analyze the association of the hormonal and metabolic milieu with the PA and PC, the animals were grouped considering the days to conception following parturition. In the group with the greater number of days to conception (>168 DIM), the PA was associated with concentrations of progesterone and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) at 90 DIM and glucose at 120 DIM, whereas PC was associated with the concentrations of progesterone, cortisol and glucose at 90 DIM, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) at 120 DIM, 17β-estradiol at 150 DIM, and 17β-estradiol and BHB at 180 DIM. Overall, these results represent a new perspective related to the reproductive performance of dairy cows. The modifications of cellular functions may be useful for predicting the onset of health complications in dairy cows and to manage cows in ways that result in an enhanced fertility during the subsequent lactational period.
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