We investigated how prepartal body condition score (BCS) alters key hepatic enzymes associated with 1-carbon, carnitine, and glutathione metabolism and the related biomarkers in liver tissue and plasma of periparturient dairy cows. Twenty-six multiparous Holstein dairy cows were retrospectively selected according to BCS at 4 wk prepartum and divided into high (HighBCS, BCS ≥ 3.50) and normal (NormBCS, BCS ≤ 3.25) BCS groups (n = 13 each). Blood plasma samples were obtained at −30, −10, 7, 15, and 30 d relative to calving. Liver tissue biopsies were performed at −15, 7, and 30 d relative to calving, and samples were used to assess protein abundance via Western blot assay. Cows in the HighBCS group lost ~1 unit of BCS between −4 and 4 wk around calving, while NormBCS cows lost ~0.5 unit in the same period. Prepartal dry matter intake (DMI, kg/d) did not differ between groups. Compared with NormBCS cows, HighBCS cows had higher postpartal DMI and milk yield (+5.34 kg/d). In addition, greater overall plasma concentrations of fatty acids and activity of the neutrophil-enriched enzyme myeloperoxidase were observed in HighBCS compared with NormBCS cows. Despite similar reactive oxygen metabolite concentrations in both groups at 30 d, HighBCS cows had lower overall concentrations of β-carotene and tocopherol, explaining the lower (BCS × Time) antioxidant capacity (ferric reducing ability of plasma). The HighBCS cows also had greater liver malondialdehyde concentrations and superoxide dismutase activity at 30 d. Overall, compared with NormBCS cows, HighBCS cows had lower hepatic protein abundance of the 1-carbon metabolism enzymes cystathionine-β-synthase, betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase, and methionine adenosyltransferase 1 A (MAT1A), as well as the glutathione metabolism-related enzymes glutathione S-transferase α 4 and glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPX3). A lower protein abundance of glutathione S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1) at −15 and 7 d was also observed. Regardless of BCS, cows had increased abundance of GSTM1 and GPX3 between −15 and 7 d around calving. A marked decrease of gamma-butyrobetaine dioxygenase 1 from −10 to 7 d in HighBCS compared with NormBCS cows suggested a decrease in de novo carnitine synthesis that was partly explained by the lower abundance of MAT1A. Overall, data suggest biologic links between BCS before calving, milk yield, immune response, and hepatic reactions encompassing 1-carbon metabolism, carnitine, and antioxidant synthesis.
- oxidative stress
- liver function