Changes of the liver metabolome following an intravenous lipopolysaccharide injection in Holstein cows supplemented with dietary carnitine


Carnitine facilitates the flux of long-chain fatty acids for hepatic mitochondrial beta-oxidation, which acts to ameliorate the negative energy balance commonly affecting high-yielding dairy cows. Inflammation triggered by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) load can however pose a challenge to the metabolic integrity via the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, leading to immune system activation and respective metabolic alterations. The effect of enhanced carnitine availability on hepatic metabolome profiles during an inflammatory challenge has not yet been determined in dairy cows. Herein, Holstein cows were supplemented with 25 g/d rumen-protected carnitine from 42 d prepartum until 126 d postpartum (n = 16) or assigned to the control group with no supplementation during the same period (n = 14). We biopsied the liver of the cows before (100 d postpartum) and after (112 d postpartum) an intravenous injection of 0.5 µg/kg LPS. Liver samples were subjected to a targeted metabolomics analysis using the AbsoluteIDQ p180 Kit (Biocrates Life Sciences AG, Innsbruck, Austria). 


Multivariate statistical analyses revealed that hepatic metabolome profiles changed in relation to both the carnitine supplementation and the LPS challenge. Comparing the metabolite profiles on 100 d, carnitine increased the concentration of short- and long-chain acyl-carnitines, which may be explained by an enhanced mitochondrial fatty acid shuttle and hence greater energy availability. The LPS injection affected hepatic metabolite profiles only in the carnitine supplemented group, particularly altering the concentration of biogenic amines.


Our results point to interactions between an acute hepatic inflammatory response and biogenic amine metabolism, depending on energy availability.


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