Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2308



Summary and Implications

Intravenous glucagon cures fatty liver by improving glucose bioavailability in early lactation. Amino acids, which would be otherwise used for milk protein synthesis, are metabolized to glucose. The objective of this study was to examine whether intravenous glucagon and fatty liver change milk protein and amino acid composition in dairy cows. Multiparous Holstein cows (n=25) were designated as either normal or susceptible to fatty liver and ketosis as based on the ratio of liver triacylglycerol to glycogen being smaller or greater than 2.0 at d 6 postpartum. Cows susceptible to fatty liver were subjected for 3 weeks to a protocol consisting of feed restriction and dietary 1,3- butanediol beginning at d 14 postpartum, which induced fatty liver and ketosis. Normal cows and cows with fatty liver were infused with glucagon for 14 d at 0 or 10 mg/d beginning at d 21 postpartum. Composite milk samples were obtained at d 20, 22, 34, and 36 postpartum and analyzed for milk protein and amino acid composition. Fatty liver decreased milk yield but had little effect on milk protein and amino acid composition except for increasing the proportion of glycosylated κ-casein. Intravenous glucagon decreased total milk protein concentrations and the proportion of α–lactalbumin and increased the proportion of glycosylated κ-casein, total κ-casein, and αS2-casein. Intravenous glucagon had little effect on milk amino acid composition. Our results suggest that milk protein and amino acid composition are under tight concomitant hormonal control and are affected little by changes in amino acid availability and/or insulin to glucagon ratio.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University