Effects of Dietary L-Carnitine Supplementation on Platelets and Erythrogram of Dairy Cows with Special Emphasis on Parturition
During late gestation and early lactation, many proliferative processes and metabolic adaptions are involved in homeorhesis. An adjusted supply of oxygen is a precondition for an optimized cellular energy metabolism whereby erythrocytes play a central role. Endogenous L-carnitine modulates the mitochondrial fatty acid utilization for generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP). As it might be insufficient around calving due to increased need, L-carnitine supplementation is frequently recommended. Thus, the present study addressed the interplay between the red hemogram, platelets, oxidative stress indices, and L-carnitine supplementation of dairy cows around calving. German Holstein cows were assigned to a control (n = 30) and an L-carnitine group (n = 29, 25 g of rumen-protected L-carnitine per cow and per day), and blood samples were taken from day 42 ante partum (ap) until day 110 postpartum (pp), with a higher sampling frequency during the first three days pp. The time courses of the erythrogram parameters reflected the physiological adaptations to the oxygen need without being influenced by L-carnitine supplementation. Erythrocytic antioxidative enzymatic defence paralleled the relative development of polycythemia ap, while non-enzymatic total plasma antioxidative capacity continuously increased pp. In contrast to erythrocytes, the platelet counts of the L-carnitine supplemented cows varied at significantly higher levels. This can be interpreted as a result of a membrane-stabilizing effect of L-carnitine.