Objectives were to compare parameters related to innate immune responses and somatotropic axis of Holstein (HO) and Montbéliarde (MO)-sired crossbred cows during the transition from late gestation to early lactation. Cows (40 HO and 47 MO-sired crossbred) were enrolled in the study 45. d before expected calving date (study d 0. =. calving). Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) isolated from blood samples collected weekly from study d -7 to 21 and on study d 42 were used for determination of percentage of PMNL positive for phagocytosis (PA+) and oxidative burst (OB+), intensity of PA and OB, percentage of PMNL expressing CD18 (CD18+) and L-selectin (LS+), and intensity of CD18 and LS expression. Blood was sampled weekly from study d -7 to 14 and on study d 28, 42, and 56 for determination of insulin, growth hormone (GH), leptin, and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 concentrations. Blood sampled weekly from study d -14 to 21 and on study d 42 was used to determine cortisol concentration. Liver biopsies were performed on study d -14, 7, 14, and 28 for determination of mRNA expression for insulin receptor B (IRB), total GH receptor (GHRtot), GHR variant 1A (GHR1A), and IGF-1. Data were analyzed by ANOVA for repeated measures or by ANOVA using the GLM procedure of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Intensity of CD18 expression was greater in PMNL from crossbred cows compared with PMNL from HO cows [1,482.1. ±. 82.3 vs. 1,286.6. ±. 69.8 geometric mean fluorescence intensity (GMFI)]. Furthermore, among HO cows, the percentage of PA+ PMNL on study d -7 (64.4. ±. 5.2%) tended to be greater than on study d 0 (57.1. ±. 5.1%), but no differences in percentage of PA+ PMNL between study d -7 and 0 were observed in crossbred cows. Similarly, intensity of PA in PA+ PMNL from HO cows decreased from study d -7 to 0 (4,750.6. ±. 1,217.0 vs. 1,964.7. ±. 1,227.9 GMFI), but no changes in intensity of PA in PA+ PMNL from crossbred cows were observed. On study d 0, intensity of PA tended to be reduced in PA+ PMNL from HO cows compared with PA+ PMNL from crossbred cows (1,964.7. ±. 1,227.9 vs. 4,688.1. ±. 1,271.8 GMFI). Concentrations of GH (7.4. ±. 0.4 vs. 5.1. ±. 0.4 ng/mL) and cortisol (9.5. ±. 0.8 vs. 7.1. ±. 0.8. ng/mL) were greater for HO than for crossbred cows. Crossbred cows had improved innate immune responses compared with HO cows, as determined by a lack of decrease in intensity of PA on the day of calving, which may result in improved health. Furthermore, HO cows appeared to be less sensitive to the negative feedback of IGF-1 on GH secretion because cows from both breeds had similar IGF-1 concentrations but MO-sired crossbred cows had greater GH concentrations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank James Linn and the University of Minnesota St. Paul dairy barn staff. The authors also acknowledge the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) for financial support.
- Dairy cow
- Innate immunity
- Somatotropic axis