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Title:Immune function, gene expression, blood indices and performance in transition dairy cows affected by diet and inflammation
Author(s):Graugnard, Daniel E.
Director of Research:Loor, Juan J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Loor, Juan J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Drackley, James K.; Hurley, Walter L.; Bertoni, Giuseppe
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Dietary energy
Transition period
Gene expression
Immune function
Abstract:The transition period is associated with the peak incidence of production problems, metabolic disorders and infectious diseases in dairy cows (Drackley, 1999). During this time the cow’s immune system seems to be weakened; it is apparent that metabolic challenges associated with the onset of lactation are factors capable of affecting immune function. However, the reasons for this state are not entirely clear (Goff, 2006). The negative energy balance associated with parturition leads to extensive mobilization of fatty acids stored in adipose tissue, thus, causing marked elevations in blood non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and B-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentrations (Drackley et al., 2001). Prepartal level of dietary energy can potentially affect adipose tissue deposition and, thus, the amount of NEFA released into blood and available for metabolism in liver (Drackley et al., 2005). The current feeding practices for pregnant non-lactating cows has been called into question because increasing amounts of moderate-to-high energy diets (i.e. those more similar to lactation diets in the content of energy) during the last 3 wk postpartum have largely failed to overcome peripartal health problems, excessive body condition loss after calving, or declining fertility (Beever, 2006). Current prepartal feeding practices can lead to elevated intakes of energy, which can increase fat deposition in the viscera and upon parturition lead to compromised liver metabolism (Beever, 2006, Drackley et al., 2005). Our general hypothesis was that overfeeding dietary energy during the dry period, accompanied by the metabolic challenges associated with the onset of lactation would render the cow’s immune function less responsive early postpartum. The chapters in this dissertation evaluated neutrophil function, metabolic and inflammation indices and gene expression affected by the plane of dietary energy prepartum and an early post-partum inflammatory challenge in dairy cows. The diet effect in this experiment was transcendental during the transition period and potentially during the entire lactation. Changes in energy balance were observed and provided a good model to study the challenges associated with the onset of lactation. Overall the LPS model provided a consistent response representing an inflammation incident; however the changes in metabolic indices were sudden and hard to detect in most of the cases during the days following the challenge. In general overfeeding dietary energy during the dry period resulted in a less responsive immune function during the early postpartum. In other words, controlling the dietary energy prepartum has more benefits for the dairy cow during transition.
Issue Date:2012-02-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Daniel E. Graugnard
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-02-01
Date Deposited:2011-12

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