Methionine and choline supply during the peripartal period alter polymorphonuclear leukocyte immune response and immunometabolic gene expression in Holstein cows

Z. Zhou, F. Ferdous, P. Montagner, D. N. Luchini, M. N. Corrêa, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) are the first responders upon pathogen invasion and hence play an important role in inflammatory and immune responses. Rumen-protected methionine (MET) and choline (CHOL) during the peripartal period affect the immune response and inflammatory status in dairy cows to different extents. We aimed to examine the effect of MET and CHOL supply on expression of genes regulating key PMNL functions and associations with whole-blood immune challenge. Thirty multiparous Holstein cows from a larger cohort randomly assigned from −21 to 30 d relative to parturition to a basal control (CON) diet, CON plus MET at a rate of 0.08% of dry matter, or CON plus CHOL at 60 g/d were used. Blood was sampled at −10, 7, and 30 d relative to parturition for inflammatory biomarker analyses and PMNL isolation. Neutrophil and monocyte phagocytosis and oxidative burst in vitro were assessed in whole blood at 1, 7, and 28 d. Although neutrophil and monocyte phagocytosis did not differ, oxidative burst in neutrophils and monocytes was greater in MET-supplemented cows relative to CON cows. Compared with CON, PMNL adhesion and migration-related genes (ITGAM, ITGB2, ITGA4) were downregulated in response to MET and CHOL. Expression of CADM1 and SELL was also lower in MET-supplemented cows compared with CON cows but not in CHOL cows. In contrast, compared with CON cows, the expression of ICAM1 was lower in CHOL but not MET cows. Similar to adhesion and migration-related genes, cows receiving MET- or CHOL-supplemented diets had lower expression of inflammation-related genes (IL1β, IL10RA, NFKB1, STAT3, TLR2). However, expression of IRAK1 and TLR4 was lower in MET- but not CHOL-supplemented cows. Plasma taurine concentration was greater in MET cows compared with CHOL and CON cows, suggesting a better redox status in plasma. In agreement with plasma taurine, oxidative stress-related genes (CBS, CTH, GPX1, GSS, SOD2) in PMNL were lower in response to MET and to CHOL supply. Overall, immunometabolic gene expression profile and blood biomarker analyses suggest an overall better redox status in PMNL during the transition period in response to MET and CHOL supply. These adaptations in PMNL might be beneficial for mounting a better bactericidal response upon challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10374-10382
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • oxidative stress
  • polymorphonuclear leukocyte
  • transition cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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