Prolonged, low-grade inflammation in the first week of lactation: Associations with mineral, protein, and energy balance markers, and milk yield, in a clinically healthy Jersey cow cohort

L. F. Martins, P. R. Menta, L. Fernandes, V. S. Machado, R. C. Neves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our objectives were to perform a proof-of-concept study to assess the association of a prolonged inflammatory state (based on a continually elevated haptoglobin concentration at the end of the first week after parturition) with mineral, protein, and energy balance markers in the first 2 wk after parturition, and milk production in the first 60 d of lactation in clinically healthy cows. We conducted a cohort study in 1 herd in west Texas that was milking Jersey and Jersey–Holstein crosses. Only multiparous Jersey cows were eligible for enrollment. Cows were classified as having or not having elevated haptoglobin concentrations based on plasma concentrations evaluated on d 4 and 7 postpartum. We used median concentrations of haptoglobin in the reference population (i.e., before the exclusion of cows diagnosed with clinical diseases) as the limits for categorizing cows into 2 groups: cows with plasma haptoglobin concentrations greater than the median values on both d 4 (0.49 g/L) and 7 (0.35 g/L) had continually elevated haptoglobin (with eHp); and cows with plasma haptoglobin concentrations lower than or equal to the median values of the reference population on d 4 or 7 did not have continually elevated haptoglobin (without eHp). Next, cows with clinical diseases in the first 2 wk of the postpartum period were excluded, so that 233 cows remained for the final analyses. Evaluated outcomes were average daily milk production across the first 60 d of lactation, plasma Ca, Mg, and glucose concentrations on d 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, and 14 postpartum, and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), fructosamine, albumin, urea, and creatinine concentrations on d 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14 postpartum. Rectal temperatures measured on d 4, 7, and 10 postpartum were also analyzed. We performed statistical analyses using linear mixed models while accounting for the repeated effect of sampling time (plasma analytes and rectal temperature models) and weekly milk test (milk production model). Cows with eHp had lower plasma Ca concentrations in the first 2 wk after calving, but no differences in Mg, BHB, NEFA, glucose, or rectal temperatures compared to cows without eHp. Cows with eHp had lower plasma fructosamine, albumin, and urea concentrations in a time-dependent manner. They also had lower milk production (2.3 kg/d less than cows without eHp in the first 60 DIM). Our study demonstrated that 25% of cows without clinical disorders in the first 2 wk after parturition had continually elevated haptoglobin concentrations at d 7 after parturition relative to d 4, suggestive of a prolonged, low-grade systemic inflammatory state. More observational studies are needed to more fully characterize the duration of prolonged postpartum subclinical inflammation in cows without clinical diseases, as well as its long-term effects, and to evaluate the use of other potential markers of systemic inflammation to describe this disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6113-6123
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • calcium
  • energy balance
  • milk production
  • subclinical inflammation

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