Differences in milk production, glucose metabolism, and carcass composition of 2 Charolais x Holstein F2 families derived from reciprocal paternal and maternal grandsire crosses

Hammon, Harald M; Metges, Cornelia C; Schulz, André; Junghans, Peter; Steinhoff, Julia; Schneider, Falk; Pfuhl, Ralf; Bruckmaier, Rupert; Weikard, Rosemarie; Kühn, Christa (2010). Differences in milk production, glucose metabolism, and carcass composition of 2 Charolais x Holstein F2 families derived from reciprocal paternal and maternal grandsire crosses. Journal of dairy science, 93(7), pp. 3007-18. Savoy, Ill.: American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2009-2931

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Two F(2) Charolais x German Holstein families comprising full and half sibs share identical but reciprocal paternal and maternal Charolais grandfathers differ in milk production. We hypothesized that differences in milk production were related to differences in nutritional partitioning revealed by glucose metabolism and carcass composition. In 18F(2) cows originating from mating Charolais bulls to German Holstein cows and a following intercross of the F(1) individuals (n=9 each for family Ab and Ba; capital letters indicate the paternal and lowercase letter the maternal grandsire), glucose tolerance tests were performed at 10 d before calving and 30 and 93 d in milk (DIM) during second lactation. Glucose half-time as well as areas under the concentration curve for plasma glucose and insulin were calculated. At 94 DIM cows were infused intravenously with 18.3 micromol of d-[U-(13)C(6)]glucose/kg(0.75) of BW, and blood samples were taken to measure rate of glucose appearance and glucose oxidation as well as plasma concentrations of metabolites and hormones. Cows were slaughtered at 100 DIM and carcass size and composition was evaluated. Liver samples were taken to measure glycogen and fat content, gene expression levels, and enzyme activities of pyruvate carboxylase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, and glucose 6-phosphatase as well as gene expression of glucose transporter 2. Milk yield was higher and milk protein content at 30 DIM was lower in Ba than in Ab cows. Glucose half-life was higher but insulin secretion after glucose challenge was lower in Ba than in Ab cows. Cows of Ab showed higher glucose oxidation, and plasma concentrations at 94 DIM were lower for glucose and insulin, whereas beta-hydroxybutyrate was higher in Ba cows. Hepatic gene expression of pyruvate carboxylase, glucose 6-phosphatase, and glucose transporter 2 were higher whereas phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activities were lower in Ba than in Ab cows. Carcass weight as well as fat content of the carcass were higher in Ab than in Ba cows, whereas mammary gland mass was lower in Ab than in Ba cows. Fat classification indicated leaner carcass composition in Ba than in Ab cows. In conclusion, the 2 families showed remarkable differences in milk production that were accompanied by changes in glucose metabolism and body composition, indicating capacity for milk production as main metabolic driving force. Sex chromosomal effects provide an important regulatory mechanism for milk performance and nutrient partitioning that requires further investigation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Bruckmaier, Rupert




American Dairy Science Association




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:36

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2014 03:49

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/14332 (FactScience: 221275)

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