Effects of intravenous arginine infusion on inflammation and metabolic indices of dairy cows in early lactation

L. Y. Ding, Y. F. Wang, Y. Z. Shen, G. Zhou, T. Y. Wu, X. Zhang, M. Z. Wang, J. J. Loor, J. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancing the supply of arginine (Arg), a semi-essential amino acid, has positive effects on immune function in dairy cattle experiencing metabolic stress during early lactation. Our objective was to determine the effects of Arg supplementation on biomarkers of liver damage and inflammation in cows during early lactation. Six Chinese Holstein lactating cows with similar BW (508 ± 14 kg), body condition score (3.0), parity (4.0 ± 0), milk yield (30.6 ± 1.8 kg) and days in milk (20 ± days) were randomly assigned to three treatments in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design balanced for carryover effects. Each period was 21 days with 7 days for infusion and 14 days for washout. Treatments were (1) Control: saline; (2) Arg group: saline + 0.216 mol/day L-Arg; and (3) Alanine (Ala) group: saline + 0.868 mol/day L-Ala (iso-nitrogenous to the Arg group). Blood and milk samples from the experimental cows were collected on the last day of each infusion period and analyzed for indices of liver damage and inflammation, and the count and composition of somatic cells in milk. Compared with the Control, the infusion of Arg led to greater concentrations of total protein, immunoglobulin M and high density lipoprotein cholesterol coupled with lower concentrations of haptoglobin and tumor necrosis factor-α, and activity of aspartate aminotransferase in serum. Infusion of Ala had no effect on those biomarkers compared with the Control. Although milk somatic cell count was not affected, the concentration of granulocytes was lower in response to Arg infusion compared with the Control or Ala group. Overall, the biomarker analyses indicated that the supplementation of Arg via the jugular vein during early lactation alleviated inflammation and metabolic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-352
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • amino acids
  • health
  • immune function
  • metabolic stress
  • somatic cell composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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