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Anim Biosci > Volume 35(8); 2022 > Article
Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Animal Bioscience 2022;35(8): 1184-1194.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0397    Published online January 5, 2022.
Elevated thyroid hormones caused by high concentrate diets participate in hepatic metabolic disorders in dairy cows
Qu Chen1  , Chen Wu1  , Zhihao Yao1  , Liuping Cai1  , Yingdong Ni1,*  , Shengyong Mao2 
1Key Laboratory of Animal Physiology and Biochemistry, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
2Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Nutrition and Animal Health, College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Correspondence:  Yingdong Ni, Tel: +86-25-84399020, Fax: +86-25-84398669, Email: niyingdong@njau.edu.cn
Received: 2 September 2021   • Revised: 4 November 2021   • Accepted: 17 December 2021
High concentrate diets are widely used to satisfy high-yielding dairy cows; however, long-term feeding of high concentrate diets can cause subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). The endocrine disturbance is one of the important reasons for metabolic disorders caused by SARA. However, there is no current report about thyroid hormones involved in liver metabolic disorders induced by a high concentrate diet.
In this study, 12 mid-lactating dairy cows were randomly assigned to HC (high concentrate) group (60% concentrate of dry matter, n = 6) and LC (low concentrate) group (40% concentrate of dry matter, n = 6). All cows were slaughtered on the 21st day, and the samples of blood and liver were collected to analyze the blood biochemistry, histological changes, thyroid hormones, and the expression of genes and proteins.
Compared with LC group, HC group showed decreased serum triglyceride, free fatty acid, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, increased hepatic glycogen, and glucose. For glucose metabolism, the gene and protein expression of glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 in the liver were significantly up-regulated in HC group. For lipid metabolism, the expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1, long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 1, and fatty acid synthase in the liver was decreased in HC group, whereas carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1α and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α were increased. Serum triiodothyronine, thyroxin, free triiodothyronine (FT3), and hepatic FT3 increased in HC group, accompanied by increased expression of thyroid hormone receptor (THR) in the liver.


Taken together, thyroid hormones may increase hepatic gluconeogenesis, β-oxidation and reduce fatty acid synthesis through the THR pathway to participate in the metabolic disorders caused by a high concentrate diet.
Keywords: Glucose Metabolism; High Concentrate Diets; Lactating Dairy Cows; Lipid Metabolism; Thyroid Hormones
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