Disturbances of Ruminal Microbiota and Liver Inflammation, Mediated by LPS and Histamine, in Dairy Cows Fed a High-Concentrate Diet

Nana Ma, Junfei Guo, Zhenfu Li, Lei Xu, Kai Zhang, Tianle Xu, Guangjun Chang, Juan J. Loor, Xiangzhen Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ecosystem of ruminal microbiota profoundly affects the health and milk production of dairy cows. High-concentrate diets are widely used in dairy farms and evoke a series of metabolic disorders. Several studies have reported the effects of high-concentrate diets on the ruminal microbiome, while the effect of changes in ruminal microbial flora, induced by high-concentrate diet feeding, on the liver of dairy cows has not been studied before. In this study, 12 mid-lactating Holstein Friesian cows (weight of 455 ± 28 kg; parities of 2.5 ± 0.5; starting milk yield of 31.59 ± 3.2 kg/d; DMI of 21.7 ± 1.1 kg/d; and a DIM at the start of the experiment of 135 ± 28 d) were fitted with ruminal fistulas, as well as with portal and hepatic vein catheters. All cows were randomly divided into 2 groups; then, they fed with low-concentrate diets (LC, concentrate: forage = 40:60) and high-concentrate diets (HC, concentrate: forage = 60:40) for 18 weeks. The forage sources were corn silage and alfalfa hay. After the cows of two groups were euthanized over two consecutive days, ruminal microbiota; the concentration of LPS in the rumen content; cecum content; the levels of blood and histamine in rumen fluid, blood, and the liver; the histopathological status of the rumen and cecum; and the inflammatory response of the liver were assessed in dairy cows under conditions of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). These conditions were caused by high-concentrate diet feeding. All data were analyzed using the independent t-test in SPSS. The results showed that high-concentrate diet feeding increased the concentration of LPS and histamine in the rumen and plasma of veins (p < 0.05). The abundance of Bacteroidetes at the phylum level, and of both Bacteroidetes and Saccharibacteria at the genus level, was decreased, while the abundance of Firmicutes at the phylum level and Oscillibacter at the genus level was increased by high-concentrate diet feeding. The decreased pH values of ruminal contents (LC = 6.02, HC = 5.90, p < 0.05) and the increased level of LPS in the rumen (LC = 4.921 × 10 5, HC = 7.855 × 10 5 EU/mL, p < 0.05) and cecum (LC = 11.960 × 10 5, HC = 13.115 × 10 5 EU/mL, p < 0.01) induced the histopathological destruction of the rumen and cecum, combined with the increased mRNA expression of IL-1β (p < 0.05). The histamine receptor H1R and the NF-κB signaling pathway were activated in the liver samples taken from the HC group. In conclusion, the elevated concentrations of LPS and histamine in the gut may be related to changes in the ruminal microbiota. LPS and histamine induced the inflammatory response in the ruminal epithelium, cecum epithelium, and liver. However, the cause–effect mechanism needs to be proved in future research. Our study offers a novel therapeutic strategy by manipulating ruminal microbiota and metabolism to decrease LPS and histamine release and to improve the health of dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1495
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2024


  • high-concentrate diet
  • liver
  • histamine
  • LPS
  • ruminal microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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