1-Title: Transition period in dairy animals: Physiological changes and molecular insights

1-Title: Transition period in dairy animals: Physiological changes and molecular insights

Authors: Savleen Kour, Neelesh Sharma and Sandeep Kour

Source: Ruminant Science (2021)-10(2):237-246.

How to cite this manuscript: Kour Savleen, Sharma Neelesh and Kour Sandeep (2021). Transition period in dairy animals: Physiological changes and molecular insights. Ruminant Science 10(2):237-246.


The interaction between the endocrine and metabolic systems in dairy cows during the transition period is the most critical one as there is an economic loss to the farmers due to a drop in milk production and high culling rates. Among the hormones, growth hormone plays a pivotal role in carbohydrates and lipid metabolism during prenatal life, increases the lipolysis in adipose tissue and subsequently increases the level of NEFA. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 is the primary mediator of the effects of growth hormone and shares structural homology with insulin. The natural decline in blood IGF-1 level during the day of calving is seen with a decrease in GH-dependent IGF-1 secretion and is associated with low dry matter intake. The failure to regain GHR expression during early lactation could possibly lead to a compromised liver function and milk yield. The major oxylipid associated with diseases are related to arachidonic based mediators viz, prostaglandin, leukotrienes and thromboxane. TNF-alpha and IL-1ß are expressed rapidly during the initial stages of infection and have potent pro-inflammatory functions, whereas IL-4, IL-10 and IL-17 actively promote the resolution of the inflammatory cascade. Imbalance between the production of reactive oxidative radicals and anti-oxidant metabolites causes oxidative stress in peri-parturient animals. The main substrates of free radical species are DNA, lipids, proteins which progressively increased from late lactation to post parturient period. Several trace minerals and vitamins are involved in the antioxidant defense mechanism and immunity of the animal; vitamin E, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, iron etc.


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