Does bone mobilization interfere with energy metabolism in transition cows?
The onset of lactation represents a challenge for both mineral homeostasis and energy metabolism in high-performing dairy cows. It has been shown that subclinical and clinical hypocalcemia increases the risk of ketosis and recent studies suggest that bone-derived endocrine factors could play a role in intermediary metabolism. Therefore, we analyzed serum samples from calculated d −7, calculated d −3, d +1, d +3, and d +7 relative to calving from 15 multiparous cows for total Ca, the bone resorption marker CrossLaps, the bone formation marker intact osteocalcin, undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC), insulin, glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, β-hydroxybutyrate, and insulin-like growth factor 1. Serum concentrations of Ca on d −3 and d +1 were associated with parameters of energy metabolism on d +3 and d +7. As we found large variations for serum concentrations of ucOC already on d −7, we allocated the cows retrospectively to 3 groups: low ucOC, medium ucOC, and high ucOC. These groups differed not only in their ucOC dynamics, but also in insulin sensitivity estimated using the revised quantitative insulin sensitivity index (RQUICKI). High ucOC cows presented with the highest RQUICKI throughout the entire observation period. Our data further support the hypothesis that low serum Ca precedes disturbances of energy metabolism. Furthermore, from our preliminary results it can be assumed that the potential link between mineral homeostasis, bone turnover, and intermediary metabolism should be further investigated.