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Effects of α-linolenic acid-enriched diets on gene expression of key inflammatory mediators in immune and milk cells obtained from Holstein dairy cows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2016

Pedram Rezamand*
Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Brent P. Hatch
Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Kevin G. Carnahan
Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Mark A. McGuire
Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
*For correspondence; e-mail:


Immune system and inflammatory responses are affected by α-linolenic acid (αLA: 18:3 ω-3). The objective of this study was to determine the effects of αLA-enriched rations on gene expression of systemic (blood) and local (mammary gland) inflammatory markers in Holstein dairy cattle. Further, the effect of dietary treatments was evaluated on the concentration of αLA in serum phospholipids. Camelina (Camelina sativa) meal (containing 24·2% αLA) was fed at 0, 3, 6, and 9% (dry matter basis) replacing canola meal (rich in 18:1 ω-9) to provide rations with incremental concentrations of αLA. Lactating primiparous Holstein cows (n = 18) were randomly assigned to a treatment sequence in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. Each period lasted 16 d and milk and blood samples were collected during the final 2 d of each period. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and milk cells (MC) were harvested, and RNA extracted and converted to complementary DNA for quantitative real time PCR analysis. The effect of dietary treatments (αLA) on the relative abundance of pro- and anti-inflammatory genes in the PBMC and MC was tested by the MIXED procedure of SAS. Expression of pro-inflammatory tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in MC was linearly reduced (up to 40%) as dietary αLA increased. Expression of pro-inflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8, and TNF-α was reduced (29, 20, and 27%, respectively) in PBMC isolated from cows fed 6% camelina meal ration as compared with cows fed 0% (control). Expression of IL-6 was, however, increased with inclusion of camelina meal. Greater dietary αLA linearly increased serum phospholipids αLA contents, and when fed up to 6% DM down-regulated expression of some of the local (milk) and systemic (blood) pro-inflammatory markers in vivo.

Research Article
Copyright © Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research 2016 

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