Leptin, GH, PRL, insulin and metabolic parameters throughout the dry period and lactation in dairy cows.Reprod Domest Anim 2005; 40(3):217-23RD
Leptin may play a role in the endocrine-metabolic processes that guarantee the physiological course of lactation in dairy cattle. This study was aimed at determining the changes in plasma concentrations of leptin and some of the main hormones and metabolites involved in the lactogenetic process in high-yielding dairy cows throughout lactation; we also wanted to assess whether leptin secretion is subjected to seasonal influences. Blood samples were collected from 23 Italian Friesian dairy cows from the end of a lactation to the ninth month of the subsequent one; in addition, blood was sampled from 47 dairy cows in different phases of lactation during February and July. Plasma concentrations of leptin, growth hormone (GH), insulin, prolactin (PRL), glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and urea were quantified by either validated radioimmunoassay (RIA) or enzymatic colorimetric methods. At the beginning of lactation, GH concentrations significantly increased, while a significant reduction occurred in leptin and insulin. This endocrine condition, such as the significant increase in NEFA plasma concentrations, is indicative of a marked lipid mobilization. In the more advanced stages of lactation, when both energy and protein balances become positive, leptin plasma concentrations increased, whereas GH and NEFA concentrations declined. During the summer months, a significant increase in leptin plasma concentrations, irrespective of the phase of lactation, was observed. Collectively, our findings suggest that, in dairy cows, leptin may represent a 'metabolic signal' of animal's status of fattening and nutritional level; in addition, leptin seems to be influenced by photoperiod and environmental temperature.