Hepatic global DNA and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha promoter methylation are altered in peripartal dairy cows fed rumen-protected methionine

J. S. Osorio, C. B. Jacometo, Z. Zhou, D. Luchini, F. C. Cardoso, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The availability of Met in metabolizable protein (MP) of a wide range of diets for dairy cows is low. During late pregnancy and early lactation, in particular, suboptimal Met in MP limits its use for mammary and liver metabolism and also for the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, which is essential for many biological processes, including DNA methylation. The latter is an epigenetic modification involved in the regulation of gene expression, hence, tissue function. Thirty-nine Holstein cows were fed throughout the peripartal period (-21 d to 30 d in milk) a basal control (CON) diet (n = 14) with no Met supplementation, CON plus MetaSmart (MS; Adisseo NA, Alpharetta, GA; n = 12), or CON plus Smartamine M (SM; Adisseo NA; n = 13). The total mixed ration dry matter for the close-up and lactation diets was measured weekly, then the Met supplements were adjusted daily and top-dressed over the total mixed ration at a rate of 0.19 (MS) or 0.07% (SM) on a dry matter basis. Liver tissue was collected on -10, 7, and 21 d for global DNA and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) promoter region-specific methylation. Several PPARα target and putative target genes associated with carnitine synthesis and uptake, fatty acid metabolism, hepatokines, and carbohydrate metabolism were also studied. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC) with the preplanned contrast CON versus SM + MS. Global hepatic DNA methylation on d 21 postpartum was lower in Met-supplemented cows than CON. However, of 2 primers used encompassing 4 to 12 CpG sites in the promoter region of bovine PPARA, greater methylation occurred in the region encompassing -1,538 to -1,418 from the transcription start site in cows supplemented with Met. Overall expression of PPARA was greater in Met-supplemented cows than CON. Concomitantly, PPARA-target genes, such as ANGPTL4, FGF21, and PCK1, were also upregulated overall by Met supplementation. The upregulation of PPARα target genes indicates that supplemental Met, likely through the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, activated PPARA-regulated signaling pathways. Upregulation of hepatic PPARA has been associated with improved lipid metabolism and immune function, both of which were reported in companion publications from this study. In turn, those positive effects resulted in improved postpartal health and performance. Further research is needed to study more closely the mechanistic connections between global DNA and promoter region-specific PPARA methylation with PPARA expression and functional outcomes in liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Amino acids
  • Metabolism
  • Methionine
  • Transition cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic global DNA and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha promoter methylation are altered in peripartal dairy cows fed rumen-protected methionine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this