Long-term elevation of β-hydroxybutyrate in dairy cows through infusion: effects on feed intake, milk production, and metabolism.

Zarrin, Mousa; De Matteis, L.; Vernay, Martin C. M. B.; Wellnitz, Olga; van Dorland, Hendrika Anette; Bruckmaier, Rupert M. (2013). Long-term elevation of β-hydroxybutyrate in dairy cows through infusion: effects on feed intake, milk production, and metabolism. Journal of dairy science, 96(5), pp. 2960-2972. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2012-6224

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Elevation of ketone bodies in dairy cows frequently occurs in early lactation, usually concomitantly with a lack of energy and glucose. The objective of this study was to induce an elevated plasma β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration over 48 h in mid-lactating dairy cows (i.e., during a period of positive energy balance and normal glucose plasma concentrations). Effects of BHBA infusion on feed intake, metabolism, and performance were investigated. Thirteen cows were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 infusion groups, including an intravenous infusion with Na-dl-β-OH-butyrate (1.7 mol/L) to achieve a plasma concentration of 1.5 to 2.0 mmol/L of BHBA (HyperB; n=5), or an infusion of 0.9% saline solution (control; n=8). Blood was sampled before and hourly during the 48 h of infusion. In the liver, mRNA transcripts related to gluconeogenesis (pyruvate carboxylase, glucose 6-phosphatase, mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase), phosphofructokinase, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and fatty acid synthesis (acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase, fatty acid synthase) were measured by real-time PCR. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and ubiquitin were used as housekeeping genes. Changes (difference between before and after 48-h infusion) during the infusion period were evaluated by ANOVA with treatment as fixed effect, and area under the curve of variables was calculated on the second day of experiment. The plasma BHBA concentration in HyperB cows was 1.74 ± 0.02 mmol/L (mean ± SE) compared with 0.59 ± 0.02 mmol/L for control cows. The change in feed intake, milk yield, and energy corrected milk did not differ between the 2 experimental groups. Infusion of BHBA reduced the plasma glucose concentration (3.47 ± 0.11 mmol/L) in HyperB compared with control cows (4.11 ± 0.08 mmol/L). Plasma glucagon concentration in HyperB was lower than the control group. All other variables measured in plasma were not affected by treatment. In the liver, changes in mRNA abundance for the selected genes were similar between 2 groups. Results demonstrate that intravenous infusion of BHBA decreased plasma glucose concentration in dairy cows, but this decrease could not be explained by alterations in insulin concentrations or key enzymes related to gluconeogenesis. Declined glucose concentration is likely functionally related to decreased plasma glucagon concentration.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Zarrin, Mousa; Vernay, Martin; Wellnitz, Olga; van Dorland, Hendrika Anette and Bruckmaier, Rupert


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




American Dairy Science Association




Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

31 Jul 2014 10:27

Last Modified:

13 Dec 2014 17:28

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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