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Interpretive Summary: One-carbon metabolism and related pathways in ruminal and small intestinal epithelium of lactating dairy cows

By: Qianming Jiang, Danielle N Sherlock, Huimin Zhang, Jessie Guyader, Yuan-Xiang Pan, Juan J Loor

The gastrointestinal tract serves a number of essential functions in the animal and exposure to physiological and environmental stressors can lead to disruption of its barrier function and compromise nutrient absorption. In nonruminants, mechanisms to cope with pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory stressors are essential for maintaining gut function. One-carbon metabolism contributes to anti-oxidant capacity via the production of glutathione and taurine, synthesis of phospholipids, energy-producing compounds, and the osmolyte glycinebetaine among others. A multipronged approach was used to assess the biological relevance of one-carbon metabolism and closely-related pathways in the rumen and small intestine of lactating dairy cows. Enzyme activities, mRNA and protein abundance, and metabolite profiling revealed unique patterns in the rumen versus small intestine. Methyl donor synthesis, transsulfuration, glutathione synthesis, and glutathione peroxidase activity are active mechanisms in ruminal tissue. Research targeting the alteration of these pathways through specific nutrients during stressful periods such as the transition into lactation, weaning, and heat load is warranted.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.