Acute phase proteins and markers of oxidative status in water buffalos during the transition from late pregnancy to early lactation
The transition period, from pregnancy to lactation, implies comprehensive metabolic and endocrine changes including a systemic inflammatory reaction and oxidative stress around calving in dairy cows. The aim of the present study was a longitudinal characterization of the serum concentration of acute phase proteins (APP), i.e., haptoglobin (Hp), serum amyloid A (SAA) and acidic glycoprotein (AGP), as well as of markers for oxidative stress in another large dairy animal, i.e. water buffalo, during the transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. As indicators of oxidative status, derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolites (dROM), ferric reducing ability (FRAP), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP) were determined in serum. Indicators for metabolic stress included nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), ß-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and adiponectin. Bovine specific ELISA methods for Hp and adiponectin were adapted and validated for their application to water buffalo samples. Blood samples were collected weekly from 11 pluriparous water buffalo cows (lactation number 4.6 ± 1.6; daily milk yield 9.0 ± 1.9 kg; means ± SD) from 6 weeks (wk) ante partum (ap) until 8 wk post partum (pp). The maximum concentrations of Hp were observed in wk 1 pp, followed by a decrease towards values lower than before calving starting from wk 3 pp. The concentrations of SAA also peaked in wk 1 pp and then returned to basal values. The AGP serum concentrations increased suddenly from the first to the second wk pp and remained elevated for all the observation period. Indicators of oxidative status which changed in concentration during the transition period were dROM, AOPP and the oxidative stress index (OSi) (dROM/FRAP ratio). Briefly, dROM and AOPP values were lower pp as compared to ap, and OSi was largely following the pattern of dROM due to the constant FRAP values. The TBARS values did not change during the observation period. From the metabolic indicators, adiponectin was not changing with time, whereas greater NEFA and BHB values were observed ap than pp. The time course of NEFA and of some indicators for oxidative status (dROM, OSi and AOPP) point to greater metabolic load in late pregnancy as compared with the first wk of lactation - contrary to the common situation in dairy cows. Both BHB and NEFA values remained below the thresholds applied for dairy cows to define subclinical or clinical ketosis, thus indicating that the buffaloes included in this study were not under metabolic stress. The increase in concentration of the APP around calving supports the concept that an inflammatory reaction is a physiological epiphenomenon of the onset of lactation in water buffalos that is independent of metabolic stress.
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