Rumen-protected methionine compared with rumen-protected choline improves immunometabolic status in dairy cows during the peripartal period

Z. Zhou, O. Bulgari, M. Vailati-Riboni, E. Trevisi, M. A. Ballou, F. C. Cardoso, D. N. Luchini, J. J. Loor

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The immunometabolic status of peripartal cows is altered due to changes in liver function, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Nutritional management during this physiological state can affect the biological components of immunometabolism. The objectives of this study were to measure concentrations of biomarkers in plasma, liver tissue, and milk, and also polymorphonuclear leukocyte function to assess the immunometabolic status of cows supplemented with rumen-protected methionine (Met) or choline (CHOL). Forty-eight multiparous Holstein cows were used in a randomized complete block design with 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of Met (Smartamine M, Adisseo NA, Alpharetta, GA) and CHOL (ReaShure, Balchem Inc., New Hampton, NY) level (with or without). Treatments (12 cows each) were control (CON), no Met or CHOL; CON and Met (SMA); CON and CHOL (REA); and CON and Met and CHOL (MIX). From −50 to −21 d before expected calving, all cows received the same diet [1.40 Mcal of net energy for lactation (NEL)/kg of DM] with no Met or CHOL. From −21 d to calving, cows received the same close-up diet (1.52 Mcal of NEL/kg of DM) and were assigned randomly to each treatment. From calving to 30 d, cows were on the same postpartal diet (1.71 Mcal of NEL/kg of DM) and continued to receive the same treatments until 30 d. The Met supplementation was adjusted daily at 0.08% DM of diet, and CHOL was supplemented at 60 g/cow per day. Liver (−10, 7, 21, and 30 d) and blood (−10, 4, 8, 20, and 30 d) samples were harvested for biomarker analyses. Neutrophil and monocyte phagocytosis and oxidative burst were assessed at d 1, 4, 14, and 28 d. The Met-supplemented cows tended to have greater plasma paraoxonase. Greater plasma albumin and IL-6 as well as a tendency for lower haptoglobin were detected in Met- but not CHOL-supplemented cows. Similarly, cows fed Met compared with CHOL had greater concentrations of total and reduced glutathione (a potent intracellular antioxidant) in liver tissue. Upon a pathogen challenge in vitro, blood polymorphonuclear leukocyte phagocytosis capacity and oxidative burst activity were greater in Met-supplemented cows. Overall, liver and blood biomarker analyses revealed favorable changes in liver function, inflammation status, and immune response in Met-supplemented cows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8956-8969
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • inflammation
  • nutrition
  • oxidative stress
  • transition cow


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