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J Dairy Sci. 2005 Jun;88(6):2017-26.

Influence of body condition score on relationships between metabolic status and oxidative stress in periparturient dairy cows.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Produzioni Animali, Universit√† della Tuscia, via C. De Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.


Twenty-four dairy cows were monitored during the transition period. We observed changes of oxidative status and relationships between oxidative and metabolic status. Body condition score (BCS) of the 24 animals at the beginning of the trial (30.4 +/- 2 d before expected calving) was between 2.0 and 3.6. The BCS was recorded and blood samples were collected weekly during the last 30 d of pregnancy and the first 30 DIM. Plasma samples were analyzed to determine indices of oxidative status: reactive oxygen metabolites (ROM); thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS); thiol groups (SH); glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and indices of energy metabolism: glucose, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and nonesterified fatty acids. In erythrocytes we determined indices of oxidative status: GSH-Px, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and intracellular SH. Before calving, cows showed an increase of plasma SH, SOD, and GSH-Px, a decrease of erythrocyte GSH-Px and plasma ROM, and no changes in erythrocyte SH. After calving, cows showed a decrease of plasma and erythrocyte SH and SOD, and an increase of ROM, TBARS, and plasma GSH-Px. Cows with higher BCS at the beginning of the trial and greater loss of BCS after calving, had higher plasma ROM, TBARS, and SH, and lower SOD and erythrocyte SH in the postpartum period. Oxidative status of dairy cows was related to energy status. Cows with higher BHBA and NEFA showed higher ROM and TBARS and lower levels of antioxidants. Results of the present study demonstrated that cows can experience oxidative stress during the peripartum period, and cows with higher BCS and greater BCS losses are more sensitive to oxidative stress.

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