Effect of postcalving serum nonesterified fatty acids concentration on the functionality of bovine immune cells


Ster, C., Loiselle, M.C., Lacasse, P. (2012). Effect of postcalving serum nonesterified fatty acids concentration on the functionality of bovine immune cells. Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), [online] 95(2), 708-717. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2011-4695


The periparturient period is marked by metabolic, hormonal, and immunological changes, which have an effect on the incidence of infectious and metabolic diseases. In a previous study, a slower increase in milk production was induced by milking cows once daily during the first week of lactation, leading to an improvement in levels of several metabolites, including nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA). The aim was to determine the influence of serum collected on d 2, 5, and 61 postpartum from cows milked once or twice daily on immune cell functions and to determine which of the constituents were responsible for these effects. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and polymorphonuclear leukocytes were collected from healthy midlactation cows and their immune functions (i.e., proliferation and interferon-γ production and chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and oxidative burst, respectively), were evaluated in presence of serum, NEFA, and BHBA. Proliferation of PBMC was greater with d-61 (65.1±1.6%) serum than with d-2 (37.3±2.4%) or d-5 (48.4±1.6%) serum and greater with d-2 and -5 serum from cows milked once (42.2±3.7 and 54.0±2.5) compared with cows milked twice daily (32.4±3.0 and 42.9±2.1). Proliferation was inversely correlated with the concentration of NEFA and BHBA in the serum (r=-0.86). Adding NEFA to d-61 serum to reach the level present in d-5 serum decreased proliferation to the level observed with d-5 serum. No effect of BHBA addition was observed. The release of interferon-γ by PBMC was lower in d-5 serum (766±63 pg/mL) than in d-61 serum (1,187±90 pg/mL) and by NEFA. Milking frequency did not affect chemotaxis, phagocytosis, or oxidative burst of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Phagocytosis decreased over time in serum from d 2 to 61. Similarly, oxidative burst was greater with d-5 serum (12.7×10 8 ± 1.6×10 8 relative light units) than with d-61 serum (9.0×10 8 ± 1.6×10 8 relative light units). The NEFA had a negative effect on oxidative burst, but BHBA did not. In conclusion, several immune cell functions appear affected by the NEFA concentration. Therefore, strategies that prevent increases in blood NEFA during the transition period may limit postpartum immunosuppression. © 2012 American Dairy Science Association.

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