Feeding rumen-protected lysine altered immune and metabolic biomarkers in dairy cows during the transition period

L. K. Fehlberg, A. R. Guadagnin, B. L. Thomas, M. Ballou, J. J. Loor, Y. Sugimoto, I. Shinzato, F. C. Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of feeding rumen-protected lysine (RPL; AjiPro-L Generation 3, Ajinomoto Health and Nutrition North America Inc.) from −26 ± 4.6 d prepartum (0.54% RPL of dietary dry matter intake) to 28 d postpartum (0.39% RPL of dietary dry matter intake) on immunometabolic status and liver composition in dairy cows. Seventy-five multiparous Holstein cows, blocked by parity, previous 305-d mature-equivalent milk production, expected calving date, and body condition score during the far-off dry period were assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments in a randomized, complete block design with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Treatments prepartum consisted of total mixed ration top dressed with RPL (PRE-L) or without RPL (PRE-C), and postpartum treatments consisted of total mixed ration top dressed PRE-L prepartum and postpartum, PRE-L prepartum and PRE-C postpartum, PRE-C prepartum and PRE-L postpartum, and PRE-C prepartum and postpartum in 300 g of molasses. Blood samples were taken on −7 ± 0.5, 0 ± 0.5, 7 ± 0.9, 14 ± 0.9, and 28 ± 0.5 d relative to calving. Whole blood samples were taken on −14 ± 0.5, −7 ± 0.5, 7 ± 0.9, and 14 ± 0.9 d relative to calving for oxidative burst and phagocytic capacity of monocytes and neutrophils. Liver samples were collected via a biopsy on −12 ± 4.95 and 13 ± 2.62 d relative to calving and analyzed for liver composition (triacylglyceride and carnitine concentrations), mRNA expression of hepatic genes, and protein abundance. Protein abundance was calculated by normalizing intensity bands for a specific protein with glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Concentrations of haptoglobin and glutathione peroxidase activity in plasma were lower at d 0 for cows in PRE-L (102 µg/mL and 339 nmol/min per mL, respectively) compared with cows in PRE-C (165 µg/mL and 405 nmol/min per mL, respectively). Oxidative burst capacity in monocytes tended to be greater on d 7 postpartum for cows in PRE-L (65.6%) than cows in PRE-C (57.5%). Additionally, feeding RPL altered the mRNA expression in liver tissue prepartum [decreased INSR (insulin receptor), CPT1A (carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A), and IL1B (interleukin 1 β)] and postpartum [increased IL8 (interleukin 8), EHMT2 (euchromatic histone lysine methyltransferase 2), TSPO (translocator protein), and SLC3A2 (solute carrier family 3 member 2); and decreased SLC7A1 (solute carrier family 7 member 1), SOD1 (superoxide dismutase 1), and SAA3 (serum amyloid A 3)] compared with cows not consuming RPL]. Additionally, cows in the PRE-C prepartum and PRE-L postpartum treatment tended to have greater protein abundance of mTOR postpartum compared with the PRE-C prepartum and postpartum treatment. Protein abundance of SLC7A7 (solute carrier family 7 member 7) pre- and postpartum tended to be greater and BBOX1 (gamma-butyrobetaine dioxygenase 1) tended to be less when RPL was consumed prepartum. In conclusion, cows that consumed RPL during the transition period had molecular changes related to liver composition, enhanced liver function indicated by greater total protein and albumin concentrations in plasma, and improved immune status indicated by decreased haptoglobin, glutathione peroxidase activity, and immune related mRNA expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2989-3007
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • BBOX1
  • amino acid
  • glutathione peroxidase
  • oxidative burst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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