Insulin signaling and insulin response in subcutaneous and retroperitoneal adipose tissue in Holstein cows during the periparturient period

Adipose tissue response to endocrine stimuli, such as insulin, is crucial for metabolic adaptation at the onset of lactation in dairy cows. However, the exact molecular mechanisms behind this response are not well understood. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the dynamics in protein expression and phosphorylation of key components in insulin signaling in subcutaneous (SCAT) and retroperitoneal (RPAT) adipose tissues of Holstein dairy cows. Furthermore, by ex vivo examinations, response to insulin was assessed in SCAT and RPAT at different time points during the periparturient period. Biopsy samples were taken 42 d prepartum, and 1, 21, and 100 d postpartum. Insulin and glucose concentrations were measured in blood serum in consecutive serum samples from d −42 until d +100. After parturition, the majority of the key components were downregulated in both adipose tissues but recovered by d +100. The extent of hormone-sensitive lipase phosphorylation increased postpartum and remained high throughout the experimental period. Strong differences in molecular response were observed between the 2 depots. The RPAT expressed a remarkably greater extent of AMP-activated kinase phosphorylation compared with SCAT, indicating that AMP-activated kinase as an energy sensor is highly active particularly in RPAT in times of energy scarcity. Consequently, this depot expressed a greater extent of hormone-sensitive lipase phosphorylation over the whole experimental period. Insulin response after parturition appeared to be greater in RPAT too, due to the significantly greater expression of the insulin receptor at d +21 and +100. Although insulin concentrations in plasma were low postpartum, the depot-specific changes in molecular modulation of insulin signaling and insulin response suggested that both adipose tissue depots studied were contributing to the periparturient homeorhetic adaptation, although most likely to a different extent.


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