The dopamine antagonist domperidone increases prolactin concentration and enhances milk production in dairy cows.

Lacasse, P. and Ollier, S. (2015). "The dopamine antagonist domperidone increases prolactin concentration and enhances milk production in dairy cows.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 98(11), pp. 7856-7864. doi : 10.3168/jds.2015-9865  Access to full text

Abstract

In previous studies, our team showed that the inhibition of prolactin (PRL) secretion by the dopamine agonist quinagolide reduces milk production in dairy cows. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of administration of a dopamine antagonist on basal and milking-induced PRL concentrations in blood and on milk production during positive energy balance and feed restriction in dairy cows. Eighteen mid-lactation Holstein cows received daily s.c. injections of either domperidone (300 mg, DOMP, n = 9) or the vehicle, canola oil (CTL, n = 9), for 5 wk. During wk 5, all cows were fed at 65% of their dry matter intake in the previous week. Blood and milk samples were collected before (for blood) and during (for milk) the a.m. milking thrice weekly from d −9 to 41 (8 d after the last injection). In addition, blood samples were collected during the a.m. milking on d −1 (before the first injection), and on d 1, 28, and 34. Basal PRL concentration was similar in both groups before the start of the treatments. Domperidone injections caused a gradual increase in basal PRL concentration. Feed restriction reduced basal PRL concentration in both the CTL and DOMP cows, but PRL concentration remained higher in the DOMP cows. Prolactin concentration remained elevated in the DOMP cows 7 d after the last injection. The milk concentration of PRL increased during the DOMP treatment, but the increase was smaller than that observed in serum. In the CTL cows, the milking-induced PRL release above the premilking concentration was similar on d −1, 1, and 28 but was reduced during feed restriction. In the DOMP cows, the milking-induced PRL release was similar on d −1 and 1 but was reduced on d 28 and 34. Milk production was similar for both groups before the treatments started but was greater in the DOMP cows during the treatment period, at 2.9 ± 0.6 and 2.4 ± 0.6 kg/d greater during wk 3 and 4 of treatment, respectively. Milk production declined in both groups during feed restriction but remained higher in the DOMP cows. Milk production became similar again for both groups after the last injection. In addition, dry matter intake was increased by DOMP. These results support the hypothesis that PRL is galactopoietic in dairy cattle.

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