Immunohistochemical characterization of phagocytic immune cell infiltration into different adipose tissue depots of dairy cows during early lactation
The present study aimed to investigate whether phagocytic immune cells infiltrate into bovine adipose tissue (AT) and to study the effects of lactation and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on the invasion of phagocytic immune cells into different s.c. and visceral (v.c.) fat depots of primiparous dairy cows during the first 105 d in milk (DIM). German Holstein-Friesian cows (HF; n=25) with a mean body condition score of 3.0 were divided into a control (CON) and a CLA group. From 1 DIM until sample collection, CLA cows were fed 100g of CLA supplement/d (about 6% of c9,t11 and t10,c12 isomers each), whereas the CON cows received 100g/d of a fatty acid mixture instead of CLA. The CON cows (n=5 each) were slaughtered at 1, 42, and 105 DIM, and the CLA cows (n=5 each) were slaughtered at 42 and 105 DIM. Adipose tissues (n=150) from 3s.c. (tailhead, withers, and sternum) and 3 v.c. (omental, mesenteric, and retroperitoneal) depots were sampled. In addition, s.c. tailhead biopsies were collected by repeated surgical biopsies (3 samplings within 7 wk; n=36) from 12 nonpregnant, nonlactating Simmental heifers (SM; mean body condition score=5.0) fed diets of varying energy density to compare the changes in phagocytic immune cell infiltration with early lactating cows. Immunohistochemical analyses of different fat depots revealed a low incidence of phagocytic immune cell infiltration in early lactating cows. The portion of infiltrating macrophages (CD68+) in a few positive AT samples of HF cows was slightly lower in s.c. than v.c. fat and was positively correlated with both empty body weight and adipocyte size. However, no differences with regard to DIM and CLA supplementation were observed in HF cows. Increased accumulation of phagocytic immune cells, albeit at low cell numbers, in nonpregnant, over-conditioned SM heifers might be related to larger adipocytes secreting higher amounts of chemoattractant adipokines compared with the early lactating cows. In conclusion, the extent of fatness in HF cows may not be high enough to stimulate significant infiltration of phagocytic cells in AT and, therefore, these immune cells might have no major role in the immunologic and metabolic adaptations of AT during early lactation.