Immunometabolic status and productive performance differences between periparturient Simmental and Holstein dairy cows in response to pegbovigrastim

V. Lopreiato, A. Minuti, F. Trimboli, D. Britti, V. M. Morittu, F. Piccioli Cappelli, J. J. Loor, E. Trevisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we aimed to investigate the side effects of pegbovigrastim, injected approximately 7 d before parturition and on the day of calving, on a panel of plasma biomarkers to evaluate energy, inflammatory, oxidative, and liver function status. We also addressed treatment responses in different breeds during the transition period. Holstein and Simmental cows were randomly assigned into 2 groups based on expected calving date and according to parity: the treated group (PEG; 14 Holstein and 12 Simmental cows) received pegylated recombinant bovine granulocyte colony stimulating factor (pegbovigrastim, Imrestor; Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, IN), and the control group (CTR; 14 Holstein and 14 Simmental cows) received saline solution. The PEG or CTR treatments were administered via subcutaneous injection in the scapular region at approximately 7 d (mean 7.80 ± 5.50 d) before expected parturition and within 24 h after calving. Blood samples were collected at −21, −7 (before injection), 1, 3, and 28 d relative to calving. Milk production was recorded at 7, 15, 21, 30, and 42 d. A mixed model with repeated measures was fitted to the normalized data using Proc MIXED of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Simmental PEG cows showed higher plasma protein concentrations at 1 and 3 d after calving compared with Simmental CTR and Holstein PEG cows, whereas no differences were detected between Holstein PEG and CTR cows. Albumin was greater at 1 d in Simmental PEG compared with Simmental CTR cows. In contrast, γ-glutamyl transferase was higher overall (across breed) in PEG than in CTR. The PEG group had higher values throughout the postcalving period compared with CTR. Cows treated with pegbovigrastim had also higher alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity at 1 and 3 d after calving. The Holstein PEG group had higher ALP activity at 3 d compared with the Holstein CTR and Simmental PEG groups, and higher ALP at 1 d compared with the Simmental CTR group. The PEG group had higher levels of IL-6 at 3 and 28 d but higher IL-1β only at 28 d after calving compared with the CTR group. Overall, Holstein cows were characterized by a greater response in the production of inflammation biomarkers (cytokines, haptoglobin, and ceruloplasmin). In addition, PEG cows had higher values of zinc at 1 and 3 d after calving compared with CTR cows. The response observed in plasma biomarkers for energy metabolism and liver functionality after pegbovigrastim treatment in Simmental and Holstein cows was not different from that in control cows. However, our data shed light on the different metabolic adaptations during the transition period between Simmental and Holstein cows, characterized by different energy, inflammatory, and oxidative pattern responses. For the first time, we have highlighted the effect of pegbovigrastim in maintaining stable cytokine levels during the first month after parturition, reflecting greater regulation of neutrophil recruitment, trafficking, and maturation during the inflammatory response. These results provide evidence of the immunomodulatory action of pegbovigrastim around parturition, when dairy cows are highly immunosuppressed. At the same time, these data demonstrate that increasing release of cytokines after parturition is not linked to exacerbation of a systemic inflammation evaluated based on haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9312-9327
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Simmental
  • immunometabolism
  • pegbovigrastim
  • transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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