Lipid metabolite profiles and milk production for Holstein and Jersey cows fed rumen-protected choline during the periparturient period

N. A. Janovick Guretzky, D. B. Carlson, J. E. Garrett, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Choline is important for assembly of very low density lipoproteins to export triglyceride from liver; however, studies to assess the effect of rumen-protected choline (RPC) supplementation on blood lipid metabolites in periparturient dairy cows have not been conducted. Thirty-two multiparous Holstein and 10 multiparous Jersey cows were randomly assigned to control or RPC treatments. A close-up diet was fed from approximately 3 wk before parturition through parturition, followed by a lactation diet from parturition through 49 d postpartum. For RPC, diets were top-dressed once daily with 60 g of a RPC product (25% choline as choline chloride) from 21 d before expected parturition through 21 d postpartum. Treatment did not affect dry matter intake either prepartum (12.0 vs. 12.1 kg/d for RPC and control, respectively) or during the first 3 wk postpartum (14.8 vs. 15.7 kg/d, respectively). Daily yields of 3.5% fat-corrected milk (39.4 vs. 37.4 kg/d), fat (1.46 vs. 1.38 kg/d), and protein (1.09 vs. 1.05 kg/d) did not differ statistically by treatment (RPC vs. control, respectively). Jersey cows in the control group had lower concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate in plasma during d 1 to 10 postpartum than did other breed and treatment combinations. Cows fed RPC tended to have greater serum triglycerides prepartum (17.0 vs. 14.7 mg/dL) and lower plasma phospholipid at parturition (65.2 vs. 78.1 mg/dL) than control cows. Treatment did not affect cholesterol and phospholipid at other time points, but concentrations followed patterns of dry matter intake pre- and postpartum. Cows were in moderate body condition score (mean = 3.3) at the start of the study and did not lose excessive condition by 3 wk postpartum (mean body condition score loss = 0.5); therefore, cows might not have been at great risk for hepatic lipid accumulation. Additionally, calculated Met balance was negative postpartum; supplemental RPC might not have spared enough Met to produce a physiological benefit. More research is needed to determine how choline affects prevention or alleviation of fatty liver syndrome and to confirm potential differences between Holstein and Jersey cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Lipid metabolism
  • Rumen-protected choline
  • Transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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