Postruminal choline supply during negative nutrient balance alters components of hepatic mTOR signaling and plasma amino acids in lactating Holstein cows

D. N. Sherlock, E. Abdel-Hamied, R. Bucktrout, Y. Liang, M. Miura, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Choline requirements for dairy cattle are unknown. However, enhanced postruminal supply of choline may increase flux through the methionine cycle to spare Met for other functions such as protein synthesis and phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis during periods of negative nutrient balance (NNB). The objective was to investigate the effects of postruminal choline supply during a feed restriction-induced NNB on hepatic abundance and phosphorylation of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin)-related signaling proteins, hepatic lipidome and plasma AA. Ten primiparous rumen-cannulated Holstein cows (158 ± 24 DIM) were used in a replicated 5 × 5 Latin square design with 4 d of treatment and 10 d of recovery (14 d/period). Treatments were unrestricted intake with abomasal infusion of water, restricted intake (R; 60% of net energy for lactation requirements to induce NNB) with abomasal infusion of water (R0) or restriction plus abomasal infusion of 6.25, 12.5, or 25 g/d choline ion. Liver tissue was collected via biopsy on d 5 after infusions ended and used for Western blot analysis to measure proteins involved in mTOR signaling and untargeted lipidomics. Blood was collected on d 1 to 5 for plasma AA analysis. Statistical contrasts for protein and AA data were A0 versus R0 (CONT1), R0 versus the average of choline dose (CONT2) and tests of linear and quadratic effects of choline dose. Analysis of lipidomic data were performed with the web-based metabolomic processing tool MetaboAnalyst 5.0. Ratios of p-RPS6KB1:tRPS6KB1, p-EEF2:tEEF2, and p-EIF2:tEIF2 were greater with R (CONT1). Among those, supply of choline led to decreases in p-EEF2:tEEF2 (CONT2), p-EIF2:tEIF2 and tended to decrease p-EIF4BP1:tEIF4BP1. However, the effect was quadratic only for p-EEF2:tEEF2 and p-EIF2A:tEIF2A, reaching a nadir at 6.25 to 12.5 g/d choline ion. The ratio of p-RPS6KB1:tRPS6KB1 was not affected by supply of choline and was close to 2-fold greater at 25 g/d choline versus A0. Plasma Met concentration decreased with R (CONT1), but increased linearly with choline. Restriction also increased plasma 3-methyl-histidine (CONT1). The partial least squares discriminant analysis model of liver lipids distinguished treatments, with 13.4% of lipids being modified by treatment. One-way ANOVA identified 109 lipids with a false discovery rate ≤0.05. The largest group identified was PC species; all 35 detected decreased with R versus A0, but there were few differences among choline treatments. Overall, data suggested that dephosphorylation of EEF2 and EIF2A due to enhanced choline supply potentially helped maintain or increase protein synthesis during NNB. While activation of mTOR was not altered by choline, this idea of increased protein synthesis is partly supported by the increased circulating Met. However, enhanced postruminal choline had limited effects on the species of lipid produced during a period of NNB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9733-9744
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • amino acids
  • lactation
  • lipidome
  • metabolism
  • nutrient signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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