Interpretive Summary: Modulating immunometabolism in transition dairy cows: the role of inflammatory lipid mediators
By: Maya Zachut, Joseph Tam, Genaro Andres Contreras
In dairy cows, the transition from late pregnancy to the early postpartum (PP) period and the onset of lactation is characterized by vast changes in metabolism and immune function, thus the concept of immunometabolism is particularly relevant at this stage of the dairy cows’ life. During the first weeks PP, as part of the physiological adaptation to parturition, cows exhibit a variable degree of systemic subacute inflammation, which involves a mild increase in pro-inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and acute phase proteins (Bradford and Swartz, 2020). Inflammation is necessary for periparturient processes such as placental expulsion and uterine involution, and it is usually well regulated to avoid excessive damage to the host. However, when dysregulated, inflammation can cause irreparable damage to tissues, and may lead to disease. In addition, PP cows experience dysregulation in lymphocyte and neutrophil function (Contreras and Sordillo, 2011). The PP period is also characterized by increased oxidative stress that is driven by the imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species, and the neutralizing capacity of antioxidant mechanisms in tissues and blood. Increased oxidative stress can affect immune function; for example, in adipose tissue increased ROS can enhance the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and thus maintain the inflammatory processes (Lavrovsky et al., 2000). Thus, regulating immunometabolism in periparturient cows is important for a successful transition period and lactation.
Read the full article in Animal Frontiers.