Research Article

Parameters of protein and iron metabolism in dairy cows during periparturient period

Anna Kurpińska, Agnieszka Jarosz, Wiesław Skrzypczak 

Department of Physiology, Cytobiology and Proteomics, Faculty of Biotechnology and Animal Husbandry, West Pomeranian University of Technology Szczecin, Janickiego 29, 71-270 Szczecin, Poland

Abstract. Knowledge of the changes in the concentrations of biochemical parameters gives the possibility to conclude about the health status of the cows, the quality of nutrition, or reproductive performance and milk productivity. The studies aimed to assess the health status of the primiparous dairy cows at the time of prospectus new fertilization and to screen the challenges of the preceding periparturient period through the analysis of protein metabolism and iron parameters in context of their potential role as markers of the reproductive status. Despite significant variations, the studies showed that homeostatic mechanisms and adaptational processes in cows organism are rather efficient during this period. Nevertheless, it should be underlined that at the time of prospectus new pregnancy higher concentration of urea, lower concentration of creatinine and iron parameters was noted, emphasizing the dysregulation of the organism condition and pointing the possible reason of/association with prospectus difficulties in further reproductive performance. If analyzed for the particular herd, these parameters may be useful in considerations about the selection of the time for new fertilization.

Keywords: cows, periparturient period, blood plasma, protein, iron

INTRODUCTION

Increased milk yields and intensified reproductive performance are the key factors affecting profitability of breeding. However, if overdone, both increase the risk of homeostasis disruption and health problems. The course of periparturient period is crucial in this context, as the tremendous changes in the function of the organism are observed. At the end of pregnancy and the beginning of lactation an increase in maternal requirements for all nutrients is observed, with even higher demands at peaking lactation. The challenges are also associated with the regeneration of the reproductive system after pregnancy and preparation of the body for a new conception [Taylor et al. 2003Taylor, V.J., Beever, D.E., Bryant, M.J., Wathes, D.C. (2003). Metabolic profiles and progesterone cycles in first lactation dairy cows. Theriogenology, 59, 7, 1661–1677. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0093-691X(02)01225-6, Nogalski and Górak 2008Nogalski, Z., Górak, E. (2008). Effects of the body condition of heifers at calving and at the first stage of lactation on milk performance [Kondycja jałówek przy wycieleniu i jej zmiany w początkowym okresie laktacji a użytkowość pierwiastek]. Med. Weter., 64, 3, 322–326 [in Polish]. Google Scholar].

There are numerous biochemical indices which may be easily determined and reflect the health status of the herd, thus pointing the direction of changes in nutrition and rearing or showing probable health problems. The analysis of changes in selected indices may especially help in the selection of appropriate time for subsequent parturition and further success in breeding.

Knowledge of the changes in the concentrations of these components (e.g. urea, albumin), gives the possibility to conclude about the health of the cows, the quality of nutrition, or reproductive performance and milk productivity [Al-Mujalli 2008Al-Mujalli, A.M. (2008). Studies on some serum constituents of dairy cows in Saudi Arabia. Sci. J. King Faisal Univ. (Basic and applied Sciences), 9, 2, 105–114. Google Scholar, Szeląg-Gruszka and Skrzypek 2009Szeląg-Gruszka, I., Skrzypek, R. (2009). Relationship between the physiological blood markers of heifers and productive and functional features during their lifetime [Zależność między markerami fizjologicznymi krwi jałówek a wskaźnikami produkcyjnymi i funkcjonalnymi w okresie życia]. Med. Weter., 65, 8, 560–565 [in Polish]. Google Scholar].

Many protein-related parameters are highly affected around parturition and may significantly impose to further reproductive performance [Kurpińska et al. 2015Kurpińska, A.K., Jarosz, A., Ożgo, M., Skrzypczak, W.F. (2015). Changes in lipid metabolism during last month of pregnancy and first two months of lactation in primiparous cows - analysis of apolipoprotein expression pattern and changes in concentration of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides. Pol. J. Vet. Sci., 18, 2, 291–298. https://doi.org/10.1515/pjvs-2015-0038, Kurpińska et al. 2016Kurpińska, A.K., Jarosz, A., Ożgo, M., Skrzypczak, W.F. (2016). Analysis of protein expression changes in the blood plasma of cows during the last month before parturition and 2 months after calving. Turk. J. Biol., 40, 206–216. https://doi.org/10.3906/biy-1501-30]. Gonzales and Rocha [1998]Gonzales, F.H.D., Rocha, J.A.R. (1998). Metabolic profile variations and reproduction performance in Holstein cows of different milk yields in southern Brasil. Aeq. Fac. Vet. UFRGS, 26, 1, 52–64. Google Scholar reported that higher levels of urea and lower levels of protein are noted in cows with prolonged inter-pregnant period and Jorritsma et al. [2003]Jorritsma, R., Wensing, T., Kriup, T.A.M., Vos, P.L.A.M., Noordhuizen, J.P.T.M. (2003). Metabolic changes in early lactation and impaired reproductive performance in dairy cows. Vet. Res., 34, 11–26. https://doi.org/10.1051/vetres:2002054 underlined that urea may impact the oocyte development, fertilization and embryo development. Cows with higher plasma concentrations of urea and lower creatinine concentrations were at risk of delayed resumption of postpartum ovarian cyclicity [Damptey et al. 2014Damptey, J.K., Obese, F.Y., Aboagye, G.S., Ayim-Akonor, M., Ayizanga, R.A. (2014). Blood metabolite concentrations and postpartum resumption of ovarian cyclicity in Sanga cows. S. Afr. J. Anim. Sci., 44, 1, 10–17. https://doi.org/10.4314/sajas.v44i1.2].

Parturition may significantly affect the iron concentration in blood. Due to the fact that iron may decrease in immunological challenges [Yatoo et al. 2013Yatoo, M.I., Saxena, A., Deepa, P.M., Habeab, B.P., Devi, S., Jatav, R.S., Dimri, U. (2013). Role of trace elements in animals: a review. Vet. World, 6, 12, 963–967. https://doi.org/10.14202/vetworld.2013.963-967] and appropriate levels are necessary for ovarian activity [Qian et al. 2001Qian, L.C., Zou, X.T., Xu, Z.R., Xi, S. (2001). Effect of various levels of iron on the reproductive performance and biochemical parameters of gestation cow. Chin. J. Vet. Sci., 21, 5, 526–528. Google Scholar] it would be highly recommended to monitor whether the imbalances in iron status occur.

Having in mind that parameters of protein metabolism [Jorritsma et al. 2003Jorritsma, R., Wensing, T., Kriup, T.A.M., Vos, P.L.A.M., Noordhuizen, J.P.T.M. (2003). Metabolic changes in early lactation and impaired reproductive performance in dairy cows. Vet. Res., 34, 11–26. https://doi.org/10.1051/vetres:2002054, Tóthová et al. 2008Tóthová, C.S., Nagy, O., Seidel, H., Konvičná, J., Farkašová, Z., Kováč, G. (2008). Acute phase proteins and variables of protein metabolism in dairy cows during the pre- and postpartal period. Acta Vet. Brno, 77, 51–57. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200877010051] are good markers for the assessment of health status and that iron status is very important for reproductive performance [Kumar et al. 2011Kumar, S., Pandey, A.K., Razzaque, W.A.A., Dviwedi, D.K. (2011). Importance of micro minerals in reproductive performance of livestock. Vet. World, 4, 5, 230–233. https://doi.org/10.5455/vetworld.2011.230-233] the studies aimed to assess the health status of the primiparous dairy cows at the time of prospectus new fertilization and to screen the challenges of the preceding periparturient period. Thus, the hypothesis was that the parameters of iron and protein metabolism may be valuable indicators of status and readiness for further reproductive performance, which might be easily compared to the reference values.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

The research was performed in 10 primiparous cows of Polish Holstein-Friesian Black-and-White variety (95%–100% HF, half-sisters, clinically healthy) in the last month of pregnancy and the first 2 months of lactation. Sampling points included: 30, 14, and 7 days before parturition and 1, 7, 14, 30, and 60 days after calving every time at 9.00 am. Animals were fed according to TMR system of feeding (INRA, 2007. Alimentation des Bovins, Ovins et Caprins, Besoins des Animaux - Valeurs des Aliments, Tables INRA. Editions Quae Paris, France 2007) and had free access to water. Blood was drawn from the external jugular vein into sterile tubes with anticoagulant (EDTA K3 – 1.6 mg/ml of blood) or heparine (0.5–2.0 IU/ml of blood) depending on the analytical procedures. Blood samples were centrifuged (3000 rpm, 4ºC). Plasma samples were stored at –80ºC until use. The local ethics committee for experiments on animals in Szczecin approved the design of the experiment (resolution no.: 22/2009, 10.07.2009).

In blood plasma the following parameters were determined: Total protein concentration – with the aid of Bradford method (Protein standard Assay, Bio-Rad); Albumin concentration – end-point method, bromocrezol green method (BioMaxima); Urea concentration – kinetic, enzymatic method with urease and glutamate dehydrogenase (BioMaxima); Creatinine concentration – Jaffe kinetic method, without deproteination (BioMaxima); Iron concentration – direct determination with ferene tiazine (BioMaxima); Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) – by the magnesium carbonate method (reagent kit for determining total iron binding capacity, BioMaxima); Unsaturated Iron Binding Capacity (UIBC) – calculated according to the formula: TIBC ˗ iron concentration; Transferrin saturation – calculated according to the formula: (Iron concentration/TIBIC) × 100.

The results are presented in figures as mean value with SD. Statistical analysis was performed with the aid of ANOVA with repeated measurements with posthoc Tukey’s test (Statistica 10.0 software)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The concentration of total protein in the blood is an indicator of the intensity of the nitrogen metabolism and may be an indirect indicator of animal nutritional status [Kupczyński and Chudoba-Drozdowska 2002Kupczyński, R., Chudoba-Drozdowska, B. (2002). Values of selected biochemical parameters of cows'blood during their drying-off and the beginning of lactation. http://www.ejpau.media.pl/veterinary medicine 5(1)#01. Google Scholar, Lepczyński et al. 2011Lepczyński, A., Herosimczyk, A., Dratwa-Chałupnik, A., Ożgo, M., Michałek, K., Malinowski, E., Skrzypczak, W.F. (2011). Comparative study of selected blood biochemical components in milk or milk-replacer fed calves during the second week of life. Folia Biol., 59, 3–4, 175–181. https://doi.org/10.3409/fb59_3-4.175-181]. The concentration of total protein in blood plasma of the examined cows (Table, Fig. 1a) ranged within the reference standards for cattle [Winnicka 2015Winnicka, A. (2015). Reference values of basic laboratory examinations in veterinary medicine [Wartości referencyjne podstawowych badań laboratoryjnych w weterynarii]. 6th ed. Warsaw, University of Life Sciences Publishers [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. A slight reduction was noted in the last two weeks of pregnancy (the difference was not statistically significant) and a statistically significant increase in the concentration in the first two months of lactation (P ≤ 0.01). It has been shown that in the last 14 weeks before calving, the concentration of total protein in blood serum of cows increases, reaching a maximum value of about 4 weeks before calving [Larson and Kendall 1957Larson, B.L., Kendall, K.A. (1957). Changes in specific blood serum protein levels associated with parturition in the bovine. J. Dairy Sci., 40, 6, 659–666. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(57)94535-6]. According to Mir et al. [2008]Mir, M.R., Pampori, Z.A., Iqbal, S., Bhat, J.I.A., Pal M.A., Kirmani M.A. (2008). Hemato-biochemical indices of crossbred cows during different stages of pregnancy. Int. J. Dairy Sci., 3, 3, 154–159. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijds.2008.154.159, a high concentration of protein in late pregnancy is associated with the release of regulatory proteins modulating the function of the body of the pregnant cows and the developing fetus. Milinković-Tur et al. [2005]Milinković-Tur, S., Perić, V., Stojević, Z., Zdelar-Tuk, M., Piršljin, J. (2005). Concentrations of total proteins, albumins, and AST, ALT and GGT activities in the blood plasma of mares during pregnancy and early lactation. Vet. Arhiv, 75, 3, 195–202. Google Scholar reported, that increased secretion of sex hormones (in mares), which stimulate the secretion of thyroxine and glucocorticoids contribute to the severity of metabolic processes, e.g. increased mobilization of amino acids from tissues and their increased transport to liver. Tóthová et al. [2008]Tóthová, C.S., Nagy, O., Seidel, H., Konvičná, J., Farkašová, Z., Kováč, G. (2008). Acute phase proteins and variables of protein metabolism in dairy cows during the pre- and postpartal period. Acta Vet. Brno, 77, 51–57. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200877010051 suggested that lower concentration of the total protein in the final days before calving may be associated with decreased absorption, unbalanced nutrition, liver and kidneys dysfunction, as well as the transfer of gamma globulin and albumin to the mammary gland. According to Bell et al. [2000]Bell, A.W., Burhans, W.S., Overton, T.R. (2000). Protein nutrition in late pregnancy, maternal protein reserves and lactation performance in dairy cows. Proc. Nutr. Soc., 59, 119–126. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665100000148 this phenomenon may also be related to the fact that a large amount of amino acids is used for the synthesis of glucose in the liver. The lower concentration of total protein in the plasma/serum of cows may be maintained even in the first few days after parturition, and then increases up to about week 10 of lactation [McAdam and O'Dell 1982McAdam, P.A., O'Dell, G.D. (1982). Mineral profile of blood plasma of lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 65, 7, 1219–1226. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(82)82333-3, Dolezel et al. 1991Dolezel, R., Kudlác, E., Studencik, B., Balastik, J. (1991). Biochemical changes in peripheral blood parameters in cows within 45 days after parturition. Vet. Med. (Prague), 36, 5, 265–271. Google Scholar, Piccione et al. 2012Piccione, G., Messina, V., Marafioti, S., Casella, S., Giannetto, C., Fazio F. (2012). Changes of some haematochemical parameters in dairy cows during late gestation, post partum, lactation and dry periods. Vet. Med. Zoot., 58, 80, 59–64. Google Scholar]. Lebeda and Bus [1985]Lebeda, M., Bus, A. (1985). Seasonal changes in the concentration of total blood proteins in cows during various phase intervals. Vet. Med. (Prague), 30, 5, 275–288. Google Scholar suggested that an increased concentration of total protein during lactation may be associated with increased protein synthesis, and better utilization of the protein from fodder.

Albumins represent approximately 60% of the total proteins in the plasma (above 30 g · l–1) and they are responsible for maintaining oncotic pressure and the transport of fatty acids, free bilirubin and some non-steroid hormones. Albumins are also the „negative” proteins of the acute phase [Tóthová et al. 2008Tóthová, C.S., Nagy, O., Seidel, H., Konvičná, J., Farkašová, Z., Kováč, G. (2008). Acute phase proteins and variables of protein metabolism in dairy cows during the pre- and postpartal period. Acta Vet. Brno, 77, 51–57. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200877010051]. Changes in the concentration of albumins in the blood of cows in the final weeks before calving and in early lactation, show similar trends to changes in the concentration of total protein (Table 1, Fig. 1b). The concentration of albumins in the blood plasma of the cows in this experiment ranged within standards for dairy cattle [Alberghina et al. 2011Alberghina, D., Giannetto, C., Vazzana, I., Ferrantelli, V., Piccione, G. (2011). Reference intervals for total protein concentration, serum protein fractions, and albumin/globulin ratios in clinically healthy dairy cows. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest., 23, 1, 111–114. https://doi.org/10.1177/104063871102300119], nevertheless it showed a significant reduction during the last month of pregnancy and in the first two weeks after calving, and a slight increase up to 8 weeks of lactation (non-significant). A similar tendency was noted by Al-Mujalli [2008]Al-Mujalli, A.M. (2008). Studies on some serum constituents of dairy cows in Saudi Arabia. Sci. J. King Faisal Univ. (Basic and applied Sciences), 9, 2, 105–114. Google Scholar. In the last month of pregnancy the author showed a decrease in albumin concentration by 57%. Reduction of the concentration of albumins, immediately before calving was also observed by Park et al. [2010]Park, A.F., Shirley, J.E., Titgemeyer, E.C., Cochran, R.C., DeFrain, J.M., Wickersham, E.E., Johnson, D.E. (2010). Characterization of plasma metabolites in Holstein dairy cows during the periparturient period. International J. Dairy Sci., 5, 4, 253–263. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijds.2010.253.263. The authors suggest that this may be associated with decreased synthesis in the liver, increased protein requirements during this period, the preparation of the mammary gland for lactation and the use of albumins as a source of amino acids for the production of colostrum/milk.

Urea is the final product of protein metabolism. Its concentration in the blood serum of bovine range from 3.60 to 9.30 mmol · l–1 [Winnicka 2015Winnicka, A. (2015). Reference values of basic laboratory examinations in veterinary medicine [Wartości referencyjne podstawowych badań laboratoryjnych w weterynarii]. 6th ed. Warsaw, University of Life Sciences Publishers [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. In this experiment, the concentration of urea in the blood plasma of the cows ranged within reference values (Table 1, Fig. 1c). Worth mentioning is a significant increase in the concentration of this indicator starting from 2nd week of lactation. In the antepartal period, Al-Mujalli [2008]Al-Mujalli, A.M. (2008). Studies on some serum constituents of dairy cows in Saudi Arabia. Sci. J. King Faisal Univ. (Basic and applied Sciences), 9, 2, 105–114. Google Scholar observed a reduction in the concentration of urea in the blood plasma of Frisian cows and the increase in the concentration of this indicator in the blood at the beginning of lactation. In contrast to those results, in our studies there was no reduction of the concentration of urea in the blood in the last month of pregnancy, but both studies reported an increase in concentration of urea after calving. A growing trend of this component during lactation was also observed by Taylor et al. [2003]Taylor, V.J., Beever, D.E., Bryant, M.J., Wathes, D.C. (2003). Metabolic profiles and progesterone cycles in first lactation dairy cows. Theriogenology, 59, 7, 1661–1677. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0093-691X(02)01225-6 and Cernescu et al. [2010]Cernescu, H., Onita, P., Knop, R., Ionescu, C., Zarcula, S., Groza, E. (2010). The metabolic and hormonal profile on peripartal periode in cow. Lucrǎri Ştiinţifice Med. Vet., 43, 2, 1–8. Google Scholar. Wathes et al. [2007]Wathes, D.C., Cheng, Z., Bourne, N., Taylor, V.J., Coffey, M.P., Brotherstone, S. (2007). Differences between primiparous and multiparous dairy cows in the inter-relationships between metabolic traits, milk yield and body condition score in the periparturient period. Domest. Anim. Endocrin., 33, 2, 203–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.domaniend.2006.05.004 indicate that the concentration of urea in blood of heifers is positively correlated with milk yield. The authors also pointed that in the antenatal period, the increased demand of the fetus for energy and protein increases protein catabolism, which inhibits the conversion of ammonia produced by microorganisms in proventriculus into protein. The excess is thus converted into urea, promoting increase in its concentration in the blood. Chládek [2002]Chládek, G. (2002). Blood plasma urea and its relationship with yield and composition of cowʾs milk [Zależność między poziomem mocznika w surowicy krwi a wydajnością i składem mleka krów]. Med. Weter., 58, 11, 871–873 [in Polish]. Google Scholar and Nogalski and Górak [2008]Nogalski, Z., Górak, E. (2008). Effects of the body condition of heifers at calving and at the first stage of lactation on milk performance [Kondycja jałówek przy wycieleniu i jej zmiany w początkowym okresie laktacji a użytkowość pierwiastek]. Med. Weter., 64, 3, 322–326 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, suggest that an increase in the concentration of urea in the serum may be associated with increased amounts of the protein in the feed, easily degradable in the rumen.

Table 1. The level of analyzed biochemical parameters in blood plasma primiparous cows in the last month of pregnancy and the first two months of lactation (mean values and standard deviations, SD; D – days, asterisk * indicates time points before parturition, P)
Tabela 1. Koncentracja analizowanych wskaźników biochemicznych w osoczu krwi krów pierwiastek w ostatnim miesiącu ciąży i pierwszych dwóch miesiącach laktacji (wartości średnie i odchylenie standardowe SD; D – dzień, * gwiazdką oznaczono dni przed porodem P)

Prepartum
Przed porodem

Postpartum
Po porodzie

30D*

14D*

7D*

P

7D

14D

30D

60D

Total protein, g ∙ l–1 Białko całkowite, g ∙ l–1

62.49

64.24

61.55

60.63

63.51

64.97

68.09

67.37

SD

2.76

7.58

10.72

7.22

5.98

6.56

5.24

4.45

Urea, mmol ∙ l–1 Mocznik, mmol ∙ l–1

4.07

4.86

3.95

4.43

4,38

4.54

5.36

5.89

SD

0.92

0.48

0.67

1.00

0.65

0.85

1.50

1.13

Albumin, g ∙ l–1 Albuminy, g ∙ l–1

36.45

35.55

34.13

34.07

33.95

32.39

33.98

34.43

SD

1.38

2.08

3.72

2.50

2.49

2.45

2.01

2.19

Creatinine , µmol ∙ l–1 Kreatynina, µmol ∙ l–1

122.70

118.00

122.60

113.40

108.20

101.80

90.26

87.88

SD

12.87

18.93

17.65

22.60

16.02

13.64

18.71

14.35

Iron, µmol ∙ l–1 Żelazo, µmol ∙ l–1

28.5

25.73

24.96

14.92

15.84

18.18

17.77

19.66

SD

4.36

5.97

4.66

4.73

3.45

2.65

3.68

2.91

TIBC, µmol ∙ l–1

74.74

69.33

67.64

63.51

60.92

59.25

66.27

65.38

SD

4.57

4.89

7.89

4.83

8.47

7.37

6.60

4.77

UIBC, µmol ∙ l–1

46.23

43.60

42.68

48.60

45.07

41.07

48.50

45.72

SD

4.64

6.16

6.91

6.14

7.20

5.41

3.70

5.42

Transferrin saturation, % Wysycenie transferyny, %

38.10

37.10

37.00

23.50

26.10

30.70

26.60

30.20

SD

5.00

8.10

6.30

7.40

4.60

2.80

3.30

4.90

 

Creatinine is an important product of protein catabolism. Its concentration in the blood of cows ranges from 80 to 135 mmol · l–1. Despite significant changes in the concentration of creatinine in the blood plasma of cows it was within the limits of reference values for cattle [Mordak 2008Mordak, R. (2008). Basic biochemical and hematological parameters for health monitoring in cattle [Podstawowe parametry biochemiczne i hematologiczne w monitorowaniu zdrowia bydła]. Życie Wet., 83, 7, 572–576 [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. From the fourth to the last week before calving the concentration was stable and in the last week of pregnancy and the first two months of lactation decreased significantly (Table 1, Fig. 1d). It has been shown that changes in the concentration of this parameter depend on the diet and muscle metabolism, as well as environmental factors e.g. temperature. Abeni et al. [2004]Abeni, F., Bergoglio, G., Masoero, G., Terzano, G.M., Allegrini, S. (2004). Plasma hormones and metabolites in Piedmontese cows during late pregnancy: Relationships with calf birth weight. J. Anim. Sci., 82, 438–444. https://doi.org/10.2527/2004.822438x, Mordak and Nicpoń [2006]Mordak, R., Nicpoń, J. (2006). Selected blood parameters in cows at the periparturient period and increasing lactation [Hematologiczne i metaboliczne parametry krwi u krów w czasie okołoporodowym i wzrastającej laktacji]]. Med. Weter., 62, 11, 1292–1294 [in Polish]. Google Scholar and Tóthová et al. [2008]Tóthová, C.S., Nagy, O., Seidel, H., Konvičná, J., Farkašová, Z., Kováč, G. (2008). Acute phase proteins and variables of protein metabolism in dairy cows during the pre- and postpartal period. Acta Vet. Brno, 77, 51–57. https://doi.org/10.2754/avb200877010051 indicate that the concentration of creatinine in the last two months of pregnancy in the blood plasma of cows significantly increased, and tended to be lower in the postnatal period. Abeni et al. [2004]Abeni, F., Bergoglio, G., Masoero, G., Terzano, G.M., Allegrini, S. (2004). Plasma hormones and metabolites in Piedmontese cows during late pregnancy: Relationships with calf birth weight. J. Anim. Sci., 82, 438–444. https://doi.org/10.2527/2004.822438x indicate that the concentration of creatinine in the blood significantly increases during pregnancy, which may be associated with increased muscular effort in pregnant cows. According to Piccione et al. [2009]Piccione, G., Caola, G., Giannetto, C., Grasso, F., Calanni Runzo, S., Zumbo, A., Pennisii, P. (2009). Selected biochemical serum parameters in ewes during pregnancy, post-parturition, lactation and dry period. Anim. Sci. Pap. Rep., 27, 4, 321–330. Google Scholar higher concentration of creatinine in the blood before calving may also be linked to an increased mobilization of proteins of skeletal muscles.

Iron is mainly related to energy metabolism and process of respiration - as a component of hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochromes and several enzymes e.g. catalase, cytochrome oxidase [Swensson and Lindmark-Mansson 2007Swensson, C., Lindmark-Mansson, H. (2007). The prospect of obtaining beneficial mineral and vitamin contents in cow's milk through feed. J. Anim. Feed Sci., 16, 1, 21–41. https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/74110/2007, Skrzypczak et al. 2009Skrzypczak, W.F., Ożgo, M., Lepczyński, A., Łata, A. (2009). Dynamics of changes in iron concentration and total iron binding capacity in blood plasma of goat kids during their first month of life. Arch. Anim. Breed., 52, 4, 419–424. https://doi.org/10.5194/aab-52-419-2009, Skrzypczak et al. 2010Skrzypczak, W.F., Dratwa-Chałupnik, A., Ożgo, M., Michałek, K., Lepczyński, A., Hejza, K., Siwa, J. (2010). Effect of converting enzyme inhibitor on copper and iron concentrations of blood plasma in calves during the neonatal period. Folia Biol., 58, 1–2, 119–124. https://doi.org/10.3409/fb58_1-2.119-124, Luchowska-Kocot 2014Luchowska-Kocot, D. (2014). Iron in medicine and treatment. J. Elem., 19, 3, 889–902. https://doi.org/10.5601/jelem.2014.19.3.698]. The reference values of iron in the serum of bovine range from 21.5 to 35.8 mmol · l–1 [Winnicka 2015Winnicka, A. (2015). Reference values of basic laboratory examinations in veterinary medicine [Wartości referencyjne podstawowych badań laboratoryjnych w weterynarii]. 6th ed. Warsaw, University of Life Sciences Publishers [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. In this experiment, the concentration of iron in the blood plasma of the cows ranged within 14.92 – 28.50 μmol · l–1 (Table 1, Fig. 2a). Iron is mainly transported in the blood by transferrin, but may also be in the form of chelates with albumin, citrates, amino acids and sugars [De Domenico et al. 2008De Domenico, I., McVey Ward, D., Kaplan, J. (2008). Regulation of iron acquisition and storage: consequences for iron-linked disorders. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 9, 72–81. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm2295]. Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is three times higher than the concentration of iron in the blood plasma (Table 1, Fig. 2b). Saturation of transferrin in the weeks preceding delivery was high and stable (Table 1, Fig. 2c). From the day of calving it decreased statistically significantly. Changes in the UIBC varied greatly and in the blood plasma of cows and in the perinatal period were not significant (Table, Fig. 2d). Statistically have been confirmed only differences between the lowest (two weeks after calving) and the highest values - on the day of calving and the fourth week of lactation. Before calving the iron parameters in the blood plasma of the cows was significantly higher compared to the concentration in the postnatal period below the reference values [Miltenburg et al. 1991Miltenburg, G.A.J., Wensing, T., van Vliet, J.P.M., Schiujt, G., van de Broek, J., Breukink, H.J. (1991). Blood hemoglobin, plasma iron, and tissue iron in dams in late gestation, at calving, and in veal calves at delivery and latter. J. Dairy Sci., 74, 9, 3086–3094. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78494-4, Weiss et al. 2010Weiss, W.P., Pinos-Rodriguez, J.M., Socha, M.T. (2010). Effects of feeding supplemental organic iron to late gestation and early lactation dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 93, 5, 2153–2160. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-3051, Winnicka 2015Winnicka, A. (2015). Reference values of basic laboratory examinations in veterinary medicine [Wartości referencyjne podstawowych badań laboratoryjnych w weterynarii]. 6th ed. Warsaw, University of Life Sciences Publishers [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. Kume et al. [1998]Kume, S., Yamamoto, E., Kudo, T., Toharmat, T., Nonaka, I. (1998). Effect of parity on mineral concentration in milk and plasma of Holstein cows during early lactation. Asian J. Anim. Sci., 11, 2, 133–138. https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1998.133 indicate that reduced concentration of the iron just before calving may be associated with the transfer of iron for the hemoglobin synthesis, which concentration increases during this period. It has been shown that the concentration of iron in the serum may be decreased as a result of increased erythropoiesis and insufficient provision of the element with food. In addition, lower concentration of iron in the blood may be associated with high concentrations of glucocorticoids. Africa et al. [1996]Africa, K.M.C., Agahan, A.L., Alday, A., Bautista, G.G., Bautista, M.J., Cabigon, R., Carillo, R.J., Cezniz, D.M., David, F., dela Cruz, A., Dyogi, E., Galutera, R., Gamboa, C.G., Hamada, C.L., Jaucian, M.G., Layugan, M.T.L., Rex, R., Samala, R.R., Santos, M.G., Segui, O., Seno, S., Torres, T.Y., Trinidad, H.L., Verano, M.T., Leano, M. (1996). A preliminary determination of serum transferring levels in normal Filipino pregnant women in the three trimesters of pregnancy. Acta Med. Philipp., 202, 90, 120–126. Google Scholar indicate that the reduction of the iron content may be related to the growth and development of the fetus and placenta, increasing blood volume and weight of the red blood cells and blood loss during delivery.

CONCLUSION

In the last month of pregnancy and the first two months of lactation the dynamic changes in the concentrations of all examined indicators was noted. Of particular interest are changes in the concentration of iron parameters, urea and creatinine. It is clearly readable that these parameters are greatly affected, and following their status gives us comprehensive answer about the status of the organism and remarks for further breeding. However, despite the intense morphological and functional changes in the body of the pregnant cow at the end of pregnancy and the first months of lactation, associated with the intensive development of the fetus, preparing the mammary gland for lactation, calving, regeneration of the reproductive system and intensive milk production, most studied biochemical indicators of plasma ranged within reference values for cattle. Thus, it appears that homeostatic mechanisms and adaptational processes in cows organism are rather efficient during this period. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that at the time of prospectus new pregnancy higher concentration of urea, lower concentration of creatinine and iron parameters was noted, emphasizing the dysregulation of the organism condition and pointing the possible reason of association with prospectus difficulties in further reproductive performance. If analyzed for the particular herd, these parameters may be useful in considerations about the selection of time for new fertilization.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This work was supported by scientific grants from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Poland (Project No. N311 112538).

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This Article

Received: 10 Jun 2019

Accepted: 12 Oct 2019

Published online: 14 Nov 2019

Accesses: 432

How to cite

Kurpińska, A., Jarosz, A., Skrzypczak, W., (2019). Parameters of protein and iron metabolism in dairy cows during periparturient period. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 18(3), 3–10. DOI: 10.21005/asp.2019.18.3.01.