Liver fat content and lipid metabolism in dairy cows during early lactation and during a mid-lactation feed restriction.

Gross, Josef Johann; Schwarz, F. J.; Eder, K.; van Dorland, Hendrika Anette; Bruckmaier, Rupert M. (2013). Liver fat content and lipid metabolism in dairy cows during early lactation and during a mid-lactation feed restriction. Journal of dairy science, 96(8), pp. 5008-5017. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2012-6245

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During the transition period, the lipid metabolism of dairy cows is markedly affected by energy status. Fatty liver is one of the main health disorders after parturition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a negative energy balance (NEB) at 2 stages in lactation [NEB at the onset of lactation postpartum (p.p.) and a deliberately induced NEB by feed restriction near 100 d in milk] on liver triglyceride content and parameters of lipid metabolism in plasma and liver based on mRNA abundance of associated genes. Fifty multiparous dairy cows were studied from wk 3 antepartum to approximately wk 17 p.p. in 2 periods. According to their energy balance in period 1 (parturition to wk 12 p.p.), cows were allocated to a control (CON; n=25) or a restriction group (RES; 70% of energy requirements; n=25) for 3 wk in mid lactation starting at around 100 d in milk (period 2). Liver triglyceride (TG) content, plasma nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and β-hydroxybutyrate were highest in wk 1 p.p. and decreased thereafter. During period 2, feed restriction did not affect liver TG and β-hydroxybutyrate concentration, whereas NEFA concentration was increased in RES cows as compared with CON cows. Hepatic mRNA abundances of tumor necrosis factor α, ATP citrate lyase, mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase, and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 2 were not altered by lactational and energy status during both experimental periods. The expression of fatty acid synthase was higher in period 2 compared with period 1, but did not differ between RES and CON groups. The mRNA abundance of acetyl-coenzyme A-carboxylase showed a tendency toward higher expression during period 2 compared with period 1. The solute carrier family 27 (fatty acid transporter), member 1 (SLC27A1) was upregulated in wk 1 p.p. and also during feed restriction in RES cows. In conclusion, the present study shows that a NEB has different effects on hepatic lipid metabolism and TG concentration in the liver of dairy cows at early and later lactation. Therefore, the homeorhetic adaptations during the periparturient period trigger excessive responses in metabolism, whereas during the homeostatic control of endocrine and metabolic systems after established lactation, as during the period of feed restriction in the present study, organs are well adapted to metabolic and environmental changes.

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; van Dorland, Hendrika Anette and Bruckmaier, Rupert


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




American Dairy Science Association




Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

31 Jul 2014 11:04

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2014 19:28

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

dairy, cow, fatty liver, lipid metabolism, negative energy balance




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