Postpartum anoestrus is a major reproductive problem in New Zealand dairy cows and its duration is related to the nutrition levels both pre and post calving. However, the mechanistic details of this relationship are largely unknown. A better understanding of the interactions between nutritional status, and the levels of the reproductive hormones controlling follicle development and ovulation is needed. A mathematical model consisting of a set of interactive nonlinear differential equations and describing the dynamics of the interactions among luteinising hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol was developed. The model depicts oestradiol profiles generated by individual follicles from the first follicular wave after calving until ovulation, and changes in LH pulsatility leading to the first pre-ovulatory surge are also produced. The robustness of the model was ascertained from iterative processes, and it was also checked against existing experimental data so as to mimic observed changes in hormone levels. It was shown that two mathematical parameters which control: i) the speed of changes in the feedback of LH activity to oestradiol; and, ii) the sensitivity of the ovarian response to LH, have the greatest effect on duration of anoestrus.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 2005, (65), pp. 324 - 328 (5)