Expression of fatty acid sensing G-protein coupled receptors in peripartal Holstein cows

Alea Agrawal, Abdulrahman Alharthi, Mario Vailati-Riboni, Zheng Zhou, Juan J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR), also referred as Free Fatty Acid Receptors (FFAR), are widely studied within human medicine as drug targets for metabolic disorders. To combat metabolic disorders prevalent in dairy cows during the transition period, which co-occur with negative energy balance and changes to lipid and glucose metabolism, it may be helpful to identify locations and roles of FFAR and other members of the GPCR family in bovine tissues. Results: Quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) of subcutaneous adipose, liver, and PMNL samples during the transition period (-10, +7, and +20 or +30 d) were used for expression profiling of medium- (MCFA) and long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) receptors GPR120 and GPR40, MCFA receptor GPR84, and niacin receptor HCAR2/3. Adipose samples were obtained from cows with either high (HI; BCS ≥ 3.75) or low (LO; BCS ≤ 3.25) body condition score (BCS) to examine whether FFAR expression is correlated with this indicator of health and body reserves. Supplementation of rumen-protected methionine (MET), which may improve immune function and production postpartum, was also compared with unsupplemented control (CON) cows for liver and blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) samples. In adipose tissue, GPR84 and GPR120 were differentially expressed over time, while GPR40 was not expressed; in PMNL, GPR40 was differentially expressed over time and between MET vs. CON, GPR84 expression differed only between dietary groups, and GPR120 was not expressed; in liver, GPCR were either not expressed or barely detectable. Conclusions: The data indicate that there is likely not a direct role in liver for the selected GPCR during the transition period, but they do play variable roles in adipose and PMN. In future, these receptors may prove useful targets and/or markers for peripartal metabolism and immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalJournal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Inflammation
  • Methionine
  • Neutrophils
  • Transition cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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