Increased plasma and milk short-chain acylcarnitine concentrations reflect systemic LPS response in mid-lactation dairy cows
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) challenge the metabolic integrity of high yielding dairy cows, activating the immune system and altering energy metabolism. Fatty acid oxidation, a major energy gaining pathway, can be improved by supplementary carnitine, facilitating the transport of fatty acids into mitochondria. The metabolic response to LPS challenge could alter both the plasma and the milk metabolome. Plasma and milk samples collected from cows treated with (n=27) or without (n=27) dietary carnitine, before and after intravenous administration of LPS, were subjected to a targeted metabolomics analysis. Multivariate statistical analyses revealed that both plasma and milk metabolome changed in response to the LPS challenge in both the carnitine supplemented as well as the control cows. Short-chain acylcarnitines (carbon chain length C2, C3, C4, and C5) and long-chain acylcarnitines (C14, C16, and C18) had the highest performance to indicate LPS response when testing the predictive power of single metabolites using receiver-operator characteristics (ROC) analysis. The maximum area under a ROC curve (AUC) was 0.93. Biogenic amines, including sarcosine, and amino acids such as glutamine and isoleucine had AUC > 0.80 indicating metabolic changes due to LPS challenge. In summary, the metabolites involved in the LPS response were acylcarnitines C2 and C5, sarcosine, glutamine, and isoleucine in plasma, and acylcarnitines C4 and C5 in milk. The interrelationship of plasma and milk metabolome included correlation of acylcarnitines C2, C4, and C5 between plasma and milk.