Metabolic adaptations and changes of the mammary immune response during beta-hydroxybutyrate administration

Zarrin, Mousa (2014). Metabolic adaptations and changes of the mammary immune response during beta-hydroxybutyrate administration. (Dissertation, University of Bern, Vetsuisse, Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences)

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Elevation of ketone bodies occurs frequently after parturition during negative energy balance in high yielding dairy cows. Previous studies illustrated that hyperketonemia interferes with metabolism and it is assumed that it impairs the immune response. However, a causative effect of ketone bodies could not be shown in vivo before, because spontaneous hyperketonemia comes usually along with high NEFA and low glucose concentrations. The objective was to study effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) infusion and an additional intramammary lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge on metabolism and immune response in dairy cows. Thirteen dairy cows received intravenously either a BHBA infusion (group BHBA, n=5) to induce hyperketonemia (1.7 mmol/L), or an infusion with a 0.9 % saline solution (Control, n=8) for 56 h. Infusions started at 0900 on day 1 and continue up to 1700 two days later. Two udder quarters were challenged with 200 μg Escherichia coli-LPS 48 h after the start of infusion. Blood samples were taken one week and 2 h before the start of infusions as reference samples and hourly during the infusion. Liver and mammary gland biopsies were taken one week before the start of the infusion, 48 h after the start of the infusion, and mammary tissues was additionally taken 8 h after LPS challenge (56 h after the start of infusions). Rectal temperature (RT) and somatic cell count (SCC) was measured before and 48 h after the start of infusions and hourly during LPS challenge. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma glucose, BHBA, NEFA, triglyceride, urea, insulin, glucagon, and cortisol concentration. The mRNA abundance of factors related to potential adaptations of metabolism and immune system was measured in liver and mammary tissue biopsies. Differences between blood constituents, RT, SCC, and mRNA abundance before and 48 h after the start of infusions, and differences between mRNA abundance before and after LPS challenges were tested for significance by GLM of SAS procedure with treatment as fixed effect. Area under the curve was calculated for blood variables during 48 h BHBA infusion and during the LPS challenge, and additionally for RT and SCC during the LPS challenge. Most surprisingly, both plasma glucose and glucagon concentration decreased during the 48 h of BHBA infusion (P<0.05). During the 48 h of BHBA infusion, serum amyloid A mRNA abundance in mammary gland was increased (P<0.01), and haptoglobin (Hp) mRNA abundance tended to increase in cows treated with BHBA compared to control group (P= 0.07). RT, SCC, and candidate genes related to immune response in the liver were not affected by BHBA infusion. However, during LPS challenge the expected increase of both plasma glucose and glucagon concentration was much less pronounced in the animals treated with BHBA (P<0.05) and also SCC increased much less pronounced in the animals infused with BHBA (P<0.05) than in the controls. An increased BHBA infusion rate to maintain plasma BHBA constant could not fully compensate for the decreased plasma BHBA during the LPS challenge which indicates that BHBA is used as an energy source during the immune response. In addition, BHBA infused animals showed a more pronounced increase of mRNA abundance of IL-8, IL-10, and citrate synthase in the mammary tissue of LPS challenged quarters (P<0.05) than control animals. Results demonstrate that infusion of BHBA affects metabolism through decreased plasma glucose concentration which is likely related to a decreased release of glucagon during hyperketonemia and during additional inflammation. It also affects the systemic and mammary immune response which may reflect the increased susceptibility for mastitis during spontaneous hyperketonemia. The obviously reduced gluconeogenesis in response to BHBA infusion may be a mechanism to stimulated the use of BHBA as an energy source instead of glucose, and/or to save oxaloacetate for the citric acid cycle instead of gluconeogenesis and as a consequence to reduce ketogenesis.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Zarrin, Mousa and Bruckmaier, Rupert




Igor Hammer

Date Deposited:

16 Nov 2014 14:26

Last Modified:

21 Dec 2014 09:34



Additional Information:

e-Dissertation (edbe). Mantelpapier




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