Hepatic transcriptome perturbations in dairy cows fed different forage resources

S. T. Gao, Lu Ma, Y. D. Zhang, J. Q. Wang, J. J. Loor, D. P. Bu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Forage plays critical roles in milk performance of dairy. However, domestic high-quality forage such as alfalfa hay is far from being sufficient in China. Thus, more than 1 million tons of alfalfa hay were imported in China annually in recent years. At the same time, more than 10 million tons of corn stover are generated annually in China. Thus, taking full advantage of corn stover to meet the demand of forage and reduce dependence on imported alfalfa hay has been a strategic policy for the Chinese dairy industry. Changes in liver metabolism under different forage resources are not well known. Thus, the objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of different forage resources on liver metabolism using RNAseq and bioinformatics analyses. Results: The results of this study showed that the cows fed a diet with corn stover (CS) as the main forage had lower milk yield, DMI, milk protein content and yield, milk fat yield, and lactose yield than cows fed a mixed forage (MF) diet (P < 0.01). KEGG analysis for differently expressed genes (DEG) in liver (81 up-regulated and 423 down-DEG, Padj ≤0.05) showed that pathways associated with glycan biosynthesis and metabolism and amino acid metabolism was inhibited by the CS diet. In addition, results from DAVID and ClueGO indicated that biological processes related to cell-cell adhesion, multicellular organism growth, and amino acid and protein metabolism also were downregulated by feeding CS. Co-expression network analysis indicated that FAM210A, SLC26A6, FBXW5, EIF6, ZSCAN10, FPGS, and ARMCX2 played critical roles in the network. Bioinformatics analysis showed that genes within the co-expression network were enriched to “pyruvate metabolic process”, “complement activation, classical pathway”, and “retrograde transport, endosome to Golgi”. Conclusions: Results of the present study indicated that feeding a low-quality forage diet inhibits important biological functions of the liver at least in part due to a reduction in DMI. In addition, the results of the present study provide an insight into the metabolic response in the liver to different-quality forage resources. As such, the data can help develop favorable strategies to improve the utilization of corn stover in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Corn Stover
  • Forage resources
  • Liver transcriptome
  • RNAseq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic transcriptome perturbations in dairy cows fed different forage resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this