Glucose metabolism and the somatotropic axis in dairy cows after abomasal infusion of essential fatty acids together with conjugated linoleic acid during late gestation and early lactation.

Vogel, L; Gnott, M; Kröger-Koch, C; Görs, S; Weitzel, J M; Kanitz, E; Hoeflich, A; Tuchscherer, A; Tröscher, A; Gross, J J; Bruckmaier, R M; Starke, A; Bachmann, L; Hammon, H M (2021). Glucose metabolism and the somatotropic axis in dairy cows after abomasal infusion of essential fatty acids together with conjugated linoleic acid during late gestation and early lactation. Journal of dairy science, 104(3), pp. 3646-3664. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2020-19321

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Sufficient glucose availability is crucial for exploiting the genetic potential of milk production during early lactation, and endocrine changes are mainly related to repartitioning of nutrient supplies toward the mammary gland. Long-chain fatty acids, such as essential fatty acids (EFA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), have the potential to improve negative energy balance and modify endocrine changes. In the present study, the hypothesis that combined CLA and EFA treatment supports glucose metabolism around the time of calving and stimulates insulin action and the somatotropic axis in cows in an additive manner was tested. Rumen-cannulated German Holstein cows (n = 40) were investigated from wk 9 antepartum (AP) until wk 9 postpartum (PP). The cows were abomasally supplemented with coconut oil (CTRL, 76 g/d); 78 g/d of linseed and 4 g/d of safflower oil (EFA); Lutalin (CLA, isomers cis-9,trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12 CLA, each 10 g/d); or the combination of EFA+CLA. Blood samples were collected several times AP and PP to determine the concentrations of plasma metabolites and hormones related to glucose metabolism and the somatotropic axis. Liver tissue samples were collected several days AP and PP to measure glycogen concentration and the mRNA abundance of genes related to gluconeogenesis and the somatotropic axis. On d 28 AP and 21 PP, endogenous glucose production (eGP) and glucose oxidation (GOx) were measured via tracer technique. The concentration of plasma glucose was higher in CLA than in non-CLA-treated cows, and the plasma β-hydroxybutyrate concentration was higher in EFA than in non-EFA cows on d 21 PP. The eGP increased from AP to PP with elevated eGP in EFA and decreased eGP in CLA-treated cows; GOx was lower in CLA than in CTRL on d 21 PP. The plasma insulin concentration decreased after calving in all groups and was higher in CLA than in non-CLA cows at several time points. Plasma glucagon and cortisol concentrations on d 21 PP were lower in CLA than non-CLA groups. The glucagon/insulin and glucose/insulin ratios were higher in CTRL than in CLA group during the transition period. Plasma IGF-I concentration was lower in EFA than non-EFA cows on d 42 AP and was higher during the dry period and early lactation in CLA than in non-CLA cows. The IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3/-2 ratio in blood plasma was higher in CLA than in non-CLA cows. Hepatic glycogen concentration on d 28 PP was higher, but the mRNA abundance of PC and IGFBP2 was lower in CLA than non-CLA cows on d 1 PP. The EFA treatment decreased the mRNA abundance of IGFBP3 AP and PCK1, PCK2, G6PC, PCCA, HMGCS2, IGFBP2, and INSR at several time points PP. Results indicated elevated concentrations of plasma glucose and insulin along with the stimulation of the somatotropic axis in cows treated with CLA, whereas EFA treatment stimulated eGP but not mRNA abundance related to eGP PP. The systemic effects of the combined EFA+CLA treatment were very similar to those of CLA treatment, but the effects on hepatic gene expression partially corresponded to those of EFA treatment.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Gross, Josef Johann and Bruckmaier, Rupert


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




American Dairy Science Association




Josef Johann Gross

Date Deposited:

01 Feb 2021 16:14

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 01:34

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

conjugated linoleic acid glucose metabolism somatotropic axis α-linolenic acid




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