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Effect of overconditioning on the hepatic global gene expression pattern of dairy cows at the end of pregnancy

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Overconditioning is a risk factor for upregulated pre- and postpartum fat mobilization. Therefore, we hypothesized that overconditioning at the end of pregnancy leads to the accumulation of lipids in the liver and modifications of the hepatic gene expression pattern. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of normal- versus overconditioning on the hepatic transcriptomic profile of dairy cows at the end of pregnancy. Ten dry multiparous Holstein cows were killed 2 wk before expected calving. Body condition score (BCS) and backfat thickness (BFT) were evaluated, and blood samples for nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) were taken before cows were killed. After cows were killed, liver biopsy samples were collected for further assessment of total lipids and RNA sequencing. Five cows were classified as normal-conditioned (median BCS = 3, range 2.75-3.5) and 5 as overconditioned (median BCS = 4, range 4-5). Regression models confirmed that normal-conditioned cows had lower BFT (1.29 +/- 0.29 cm; least squares means +/- standard error) and serum NEFA (0.16 +/- 0.04 mmol/L) in comparison to overconditioned cows (3.14 +/- 0.43 cm and 0.38 +/- 0.07 mmol/L for BFT and NEFA, respectively). Total liver lipid percentage tended to be lower in normal- versus overconditioned cows (4.63 +/- 0.40% and 6.06 +/- 0.44%, respectively). In comparison to the mean liver lipid percentage of the normal- and overconditioned cows, 1 overconditioned cow had a relatively low (5.21%) and 1 normal-conditioned cow had a relatively high (6.07%) liver lipid percentage. Differentially expressed genes analysis (edgeR quasi-likelihood method) showed that normal-conditioned cows presented 11 upregulated and 12 downregulated genes in comparison to overconditioned cows. Linear discriminant analysis effects size revealed 133 differentially expressed genes between normal- versus overconditioned cows. Notably, the liver of normal-conditioned cows had upregulated genes associated with liver functionality (ALB, SELENOP, IGF1, and IGF2). On the other hand, overconditioned cows had upregulated genes associated with the acute-phase response (C3, HPX, and, LBP). High basal lipolysis in overconditioned cows at the end of pregnancy increased liver lipid content, and this may alter the hepatic gene expression pattern to a pro-inflammatory state.
Journal: Journal of Dairy Science
ISSN: 0022-0302
Issue: 7
Volume: 104
Pages: 8152 - 8163
Publication year:2021
Keywords:Food & animal science & technology