Skeletal muscle and adipose tissue reserves and mobilisation in transition Holstein cows: Part 1 Biological variation and affecting factors

N. Siachos, G. Oikonomou, N. Panousis, V. Tsiamadis, G. Banos, G. Arsenos, G. E. Valergakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Nutrient deficit during the periparturient period leads to mobilisation of body energy and protein reserves. Research regarding fat reserves and mobilisation is extensive, while, on the contrary, investigation of muscle mobilisation during the periparturient period is limited. The aim of this cohort study was to simultaneously investigate the biological variation of skeletal muscle and subcutaneous fat reserves together with their mobilisation in transition Holstein cows of different herds, using ultrasonography, and to assess potential affecting factors. For this purpose, ultrasound measurements of longissimus dorsi muscle thickness (LDT) and backfat thickness (BFT) from 238 multiparous cows of six dairy farms were obtained at six time points across the transition period (from 21 days pre- to 28 days postpartum). Concentrations of serum creatinine and non-esterified fatty acids were determined in order to confirm the loss of muscle mass and adipose tissue, respectively. Cases of clinical postparturient diseases and subclinical ketosis (scKET) during the first 28 days postcalving were recorded. Cows mobilised on average 32.8% and 37.3% of LDT and BFT reserves, respectively. Large between-cow variation was observed for both the onset and the degree of mobilisation. Time point, initial body condition score and parity were the most important predictors of LDT variation. Cows diagnosed with metritis (MET) had lower LDT postpartum and mobilised more muscle depth compared to cows not diagnosed with MET. Initial BCS, time point, initial BW (estimated by heart girth measurement) and parity were the most important predictors of BFT variation. Cows diagnosed with MET mobilised more backfat between −7d and 7d compared to cows not diagnosed with MET. Cows with scKET mobilised more backfat between 7- and 21 days postpartum compared to healthy ones. Variation of subcutaneous fat and skeletal muscle reserves during the transition period was large and affected by herd and several cow-level factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100627
JournalAnimal
Volume16
Issue number9
Early online date7 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

Keywords

  • Backfat
  • Cattle
  • Longissimus dorsi
  • Peripartum
  • Ultrasonography
  • Energy Metabolism/physiology
  • Lactation/physiology
  • Humans
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified/metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal/metabolism
  • Postpartum Period
  • Milk/metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Animals
  • Adipose Tissue/metabolism
  • Female
  • Creatinine/metabolism
  • Cohort Studies

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