Inhibition of arginase via jugular infusion of Nω-hydroxy-nor-L-arginine inhibits casein synthesis in lactating dairy cows

L. Y. Ding, L. M. Chen, M. Z. Wang, J. Zhang, J. J. Loor, G. Zhou, X. Zhang, H. R. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A previous in vitro study revealed that Arg elicits positive effects on casein synthesis through alterations of the Arg-ornithine pathway in bovine mammary epithelial cells. The main purpose of this work was to determine the effects of arginase inhibition using Nω-hydroxy-nor-L-arginine (nor-NOHA) on milk protein synthesis in vivo. Six healthy Chinese Holstein cows with similar body weight (550.0 ± 20 kg; means ± standard deviation), parity (4), body condition score (3.0), milk yield (21.0 ± 1.0 kg), and days in milk (80 ± 2) were selected and randomly assigned to 3 treatments in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design with 22 d for each period (7 d for infusion and 15 d for washout). The treatments were (1) control: saline infusion; (2) nor-NOHA: infusion of 125 mg/L of nor-NOHA; (3) nor-NOHA + Arg: infusion of 125 mg/L of nor-NOHA with 9.42 g/L of Arg. The activity of enzymes related to Arg metabolism, milk protein synthesis, and expression of AA transporters was determined. The infusion of nor-NOHA decreased the activity of arginase but had no effect on the activity of ornithine decarboxylase and nitric oxide synthase in serum, and these responses were the same at the gene expression level in mammary gland. In addition, the infusion of nor-NOHA also reduced protein and fat synthesis in milk but had no effect on milk yield. When Arg was infused with nor-NOHA, the activity of total arginase, ornithine decarboxylase, and nitric oxide synthase, and the concentration of casein, protein, and fat in milk did not change compared with the nor-NOHA group, but the milk protein yield, the expression of some Arg transporters (SLC7A5 and SLC7A8), and milk yield increased. Overall, results verified previous in vitro findings indicating that synthesis of casein protein is closely regulated by the Arg-ornithine pathway in bovine mammary gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3514-3523
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • N-hydroxy-nor-L-arginine
  • arginine
  • jugular vein infusion
  • milk casein synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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