Differences in liver functionality indexes in peripartal dairy cows fed rumen-protected methionine or choline are associated with performance, oxidative stress status, and plasma amino acid profiles

Z. Zhou, E. Trevisi, D. N. Luchini, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The liver functionality index (LFI) represents an assessment of transition cow metabolic health by measuring changes in biomarkers associated with liver plasma protein synthesis (albumin), lipoprotein synthesis (cholesterol), and heme catabolism (bilirubin). The present analysis was conducted to determine the role of peripartal rumen-protected Met or choline (CHOL) supplementation on LFI groupings, and to assess relationships with performance, inflammation, oxidative stress status, and plasma AA profiles. A cohort of 40 multiparous Holstein cows that were part of a randomized complete block design with 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of Met (Smartamine M, Adisseo NA, Alpharetta, GA) and CHOL (ReaShure, Balchem Inc., New Hampton, NY) level (with or without) were used. From −21 d to calving, cows received the same close-up diet and were assigned randomly to each treatment. From calving to 30 d, cows were on the same postpartal diet and continued to receive the same treatments until 30 d. Addition of Met was adjusted daily at 0.08% dry matter of diet and CHOL was fed at 60 g/cow per day. Liver (−10, 7, 20, and 30 d) and blood (−10, 4, 8, 20, and 30 d) samples were harvested for biomarker analyses. Cows were ranked retrospectively and assigned to low (LLFI, LFI <0) and high (HLFI, LFI >0) LFI groups regardless of Met or CHOL supplementation. Compared with cows in LLFI, close-up and lactation DMI, milk yield, milk fat yield, and milk protein yield were greater in HLFI cows. As expected, cows in LLFI had lower plasma cholesterol and albumin but greater bilirubin concentrations around parturition. Plasma haptoglobin concentration was also lower in HLFI cows, but plasma paraoxonase and hepatic total and reduced hepatic glutathione concentrations were greater. Although higher concentrations of His, Met, and Trp, as well as a tendency for greater Ile, were observed in HLFI cows, overall essential AA concentrations did not differ with LFI status. In contrast, overall concentrations of nonessential AA were greater in HLFI cows due to greater circulating concentrations of Ala, Asn, Gln, Pro, and Ser. Similarly, overall concentrations of total AA and total sulfur-containing compounds were greater in cows with HLFI. Feeding Met compared with CHOL led to a tendency for more cows classified as HLFI. Overall, results support the broader application of the LFI in the management of transition cows. In that context, the fact that precalving concentrations of compounds such as reduced glutathione, total sulfur-containing compounds, Met, Tau, and homocysteine differed between HLFI and LLFI independent of Met or CHOL feeding also underscores their potential for monitoring cows that might be at a greater risk of developing health problems after calving. Further studies on the applicability of these biomarkers to monitor transition success appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6720-6732
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017



  • methyl donors
  • nutrition
  • transition cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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