Prepartal Energy Intake Alters Blood Polymorphonuclear Leukocyte Transcriptome During the Peripartal Period in Holstein Cows

A. Agrawal, M. J. Khan, D. E. Graugnard, M. Vailati-Riboni, S. L. Rodriguez-Zas, J. S. Osorio, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the dairy industry, cow health and farmer profits depend on the balance between diet (ie, nutrient composition, daily intake) and metabolism. This is especially true during the transition period, where dramatic physiological changes foster vulnerability to immunosuppression, negative energy balance, and clinical and subclinical disorders. Using an Agilent microarray platform, this study examined changes in the transcriptome of bovine polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs) due to prepartal dietary intake. Holstein cows were fed a high-straw, control-energy diet (CON; NEL = 1.34 Mcal/kg) or overfed a moderate-energy diet (OVE; NEL = 1.62 Mcal/kg) during the dry period. Blood for PMNL isolation and metabolite analysis was collected at −14 and +7 days relative to parturition. At an analysis of variance false discovery rate <0.05, energy intake (OVE vs CON) influenced 1806 genes. Dynamic Impact Approach bioinformatics analysis classified treatment effects on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways, including activated oxidative phosphorylation and biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids and inhibited RNA polymerase, proteasome, and toll-like receptor signaling pathway. This analysis indicates that processes critical for energy metabolism and cellular and immune function were affected with mixed results. However, overall interpretation of the transcriptome data agreed in part with literature documenting a potentially detrimental, chronic activation of PMNL in response to overfeeding. The widespread, transcriptome-level changes captured here confirm the importance of dietary energy adjustments around calving on the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBioinformatics and Biology Insights
StatePublished - Apr 27 2017


  • Transition cow
  • gene expression
  • neutrophil
  • nutrigenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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