Alterations in hepatic FGF21, co-regulated genes, and upstream metabolic genes in response to nutrition, ketosis and inflammation in peripartal holstein cows

Haji Akbar, Fernanda Batistel, James K. Drackley, Juan J. Loor

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In rodents, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) has emerged as a key metabolic regulator produced by liver. To gather preliminary data on the potential importance of FGF1, co-regulated genes, and upstream metabolic genes, we examined the hepatic mRNA expression in response to nutrition and inflammation in dairy cows. In experiment 1, induction of ketosis through feed restriction on d 5 postpartum upregulated FGF21, its co-receptor KLB, and PPARA but only elicited a numerical increase in serum FGF21 concentration. In experiment 2, cows in control (CON) or receiving 50 g/d of L-carnitine (C50) from -14 through 21 d had increased FGF21, PPARA, and NFIL3 on d 10 compared with d 2 postpartum. In contrast, compared with CON and C50, 100 g/d L-carnitine (C100) resulted in lower FGF21, KLB, ANGPTL4, and ARNTL expression on d 10. In experiment 3, cows were fed during the dry period either a higher-energy (OVE; 1.62 Mcal/kg DM) or lower-energy (CON; 1.34 Mcal/kg DM) diet and received 0 (OVE:N, CON:N) or 200 μg of LPS (OVE:Y, CON:Y) into the mammary gland at d 7 postpartum. For FGF21 mRNA expression in CON, the LPS challenge (CON:Y) prevented a decrease in expression between d 7 and 14 postpartum such that cows in CON:N had a 4-fold lower expression on d 14 compared with d 7. The inflammatory stimulus induced by LPS in CON:Y resulted in upregulation of PPARA on d 14 to a similar level as cows in OVE:N. In OVE:Y, expression of PPARA was lower than CON:N on d 7 and remained unchanged on d 14. On d 7, LPS led to a 4-fold greater serum FGF21 only in OVE but not in CON cows. In fact, OVE:Y reached the same serum FGF21 concentration as CON:N, suggesting a carryover effect of dietary energy level on signaling mechanisms within liver. Overall, results indicate that nutrition, ketosis, and inflammation during the peripartal period can alter hepatic FGF21, co-regulated genes, and upstream metabolic genes to various extents. The functional outcome of these changes merits further study, and in particular the mechanisms regulating transcription in response to changes in energy balance and feed intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0139963
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 9 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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