Effect of hormonal and energy-related factors on plasma adiponectin in transition dairy cows

C. S. Krumm, S. L. Giesy, L. S. Caixeta, W. R. Butler, H. Sauerwein, J. W. Kim, Y. R. Boisclair

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15 Scopus citations


In transition dairy cows, plasma levels of the insulin-sensitizing hormone adiponectin fall to a nadir at parturition and recover in early lactation. The transition period is also characterized by rapid changes in metabolic and hormonal factors implicated in other species as positive regulators of adiponectin production (i.e., negative energy balance, lipid mobilization) and others as negative regulators (i.e., reduced leptin and insulin and increased growth hormone and plasma fatty acids). To assess the role of onset of negative energy balance and lipid mobilization after parturition, dairy cows were either milked thrice daily (lactating) or never milked (nonlactating) for up to 4 wk after parturition. Plasma adiponectin was 21% higher across time in nonlactating than lactating cows. Moreover, nonlactating cows recovered plasma adiponectin at similar rates as lactating cows even though they failed to lose body condition. Next, we assessed the ability of individual hormones to alter plasma adiponectin in transition dairy cows. In the first experiment, dairy cows received a constant 96-h intravenous infusion of either saline or recombinant human leptin starting on d 8 of lactation. In the second experiment, dairy cows were studied in late pregnancy (LP, starting on prepartum d −31) and again in early lactation (EL, starting on d 7 postpartum) during a 66-h period of basal sampling followed by 48 h of hyperinsulinemic-euglycemia. In the third experiment, cows were studied either in LP (starting on d −40 prepartum) or EL (starting on d 7 postpartum) during a 3-h period of basal sampling followed by 5 d of bovine somatotropin treatment. Plasma adiponectin was reduced by an average of 21% in EL relative to LP in these experiments, but neither leptin, insulin, or growth hormone treatment affected adiponectin in LP or EL. Finally, the possibility that plasma fatty acids repress plasma adiponectin was evaluated by intravenous infusion of a lipid emulsion in nonpregnant, nonlactating cows in the absence or presence of glucagon for 16 consecutive hours. The intralipid infusion increased plasma fatty acid concentration from 102 to over 570 µM within 3 h but had no effect on plasma adiponectin irrespective of presence or absence of glucagon. Overall, these data suggest that energy balance around parturition may regulate plasma adiponectin but do not support roles for lipid mobilization or sustained changes in the plasma concentration of leptin, insulin, growth hormone, or fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9418-9427
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based on work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA (Washington, DC), under award number 2014-67015-21592 and Hatch/Multistate project under 1000962.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Dairy Science Association


  • energy insufficiency
  • growth hormone
  • insulin
  • leptin
  • lipid mobilization


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