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Peter Kappel Theil

Effects of experimentally increased protein supply to postpartum dairy cows on plasma protein synthesis, rumen tissue proliferation, and immune homeostasis

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  • Mogens Larsen
  • Christine Maria Røntved, CMR On-Site, Denmark
  • Peter Kappel Theil
  • Mona Khatun, School of Life and Enviromental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Univ. of Sydney, Camden, New South Wales, Australia, Australia
  • Charlotte Lauridsen
  • Niels Bastian Kristensen, Denmark
The effect of experimentally increasing the postpartum protein supply on plasma protein synthesis, rumen tissue proliferation, and immune homeostasis was studied using 8 periparturient Holstein cows in a complete randomized design. At calving, cows were assigned to abomasal infusion of water (CTRL) or casein (CAS) in addition to a lactation diet. Casein infusion was gradually decreased from 696 ± 1 g/d at +2 d relative to calving (DRTC) to 212 ± 10 g/d at +29 DRTC to avoid excessive supply. Synthesis rate of plasma proteins was measured at –14, +4, +15, and +29 DRTC by measuring [13C]Phe isotopic enrichment in arterial plasma free Phe, total plasma proteins, and albumin after 3, 5, and 7 h of jugular ring[13C]Phe infusion. Plasma volume was determined at +4 and +29 DRTC by dilution of a [125I]BSA dose. Synthesis rate of tissue protein in biopsied rumen papillae was determined by measuring [13C]Phe isotopic enrichment, and mRNA expression of selected genes was measured by real-time qPCR. Total and differential leukocyte counts were performed and immune responsiveness of monocytes was evaluated by tumor necrosis factor ɑ (TNFɑ) concentration on ex vivo whole blood stimulation with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and responsiveness of T-lymphocytes by interferon γ (IFNγ) concentration on stimulation with Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin β (SEB). Further, ELISA plasma concentrations of IgM, IgA, and IgG were determined. The DRTC affected the majority of investigated parameters as expected. The CAS treatment increased milk protein yield (P = 0.04), and tended to lower TNFɑ (P = 0.06), and lowered IFNγ (P = 0.03) responsiveness per monocyte and lymphocyte, respectively, compared with CTRL. Further, fractional synthesis rate of albumin was greater at +4 DRTC for CAS compared with CTRL but did not differ by +29 DRTC (interaction: P = 0.01). In rumen papillae, synthesis rate of tissue protein was greater for CAS compared with CTRL (P < 0.01) and mRNA expression of genes for cell proliferation tended to be or were greater for CAS compared with CTRL (P ≤ 0.07). In conclusion, increased postpartum protein supply seem to enhance vital body functions as interpreted from increased liver synthesis of albumin, increased rumen papillae proliferation, and stabilized the ex vivo inflammatory responsiveness of leukocytes. Further studies are needed to enlighten the importance of increased postpartum protein supply in periparturient cows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Pages (from-to)2097-2110
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

    Research areas

  • albumin, dairy cow, gene expression, globulins, immune function, protein

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