The present work aimed to determine if different levels of prolificacy either by parity or by genetic origin are linked to folate metabolism. Nulliparous Yorkshire-Landrace (YL) and multiparous YL, and multiparous Meishan-Landrace (ML) sows were randomly assigned to two treatments: 0 ppm or 15 ppm folic acid+0.6% glycine. Supplements were given from the estrus before mating until slaughter on d 25 of gestation. At slaughter, embryo and endometrial tissues were collected to determine concentrations of DNA, protein, and homocysteine. Allantoic fluid samples were also collected to determine concentrations of folates, vitamin B12 and amino acids. Blood samples were taken at first estrus, at mating, and on d 8, 16, and 25 of gestation to determine serum concentrations of folates, vitamin B12, and relative total folate binding capacity (TFBC). Over the entire experiment, multiparous YL sows had higher average serum concentrations of folates than nulliparous YL sows (P < 0.05) but had similar serum concentrations of relative TFBC. Concentrations of folates and relative TFBC averaged higher in ML measured over the entire experiment than in multiparous YL sows (P < 0.05). Concentrations of serum vitamin B12 were higher in multiparous YL than in ML sows or YL nulliparous sows (P < 0.05) over the entire experiment. In allantoic fluid, folates, vitamin B12, and essential amino acids contents were significantly lower in ML than in YL multiparous sows (P < 0.05). The folic acid+glycine supplement increased concentrations of serum folates, but the increase was more marked in nulliparous YL sows (nulliparous x folic acid+glycine, P < 0.05). The folic acid+glycine supplement had no effect on litter size and embryo survival, but it tended to increase embryo DNA in multiparous YL sows (P = 0.06) but not in ML and nulliparous YL sows. Homocysteine was decreased by folic acid+glycine supplement in embryos from all sows, but in endometrium, the folic acid+glycine effect was dependent on parity (nulliparous x folic acid+glycine, P < 0.05). The effects of folic acid+glycine on litter size and embryo development and survival and some aspects of folate metabolism suggest that the basal dietary content of folic acid+glycine was adequate for ML and nulliparous YL sows but not to optimize embryo development in YL multiparous sows.

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