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Effects of supplementary folic acid and vitamin B<inf>12</inf> on hepatic metabolism of dairy cows according to methionine supply

Preynat, A., Lapierre, H., Thivierge, M.C., Palin, M.F., Cardinault, N., Matte, J.J., Desrochers, A., Girard, C.L. (2010). Effects of supplementary folic acid and vitamin B12 on hepatic metabolism of dairy cows according to methionine supply, 93(5), 2130-2142.


The present experiment was undertaken to study the interactions between dietary supplements of rumen-protected methionine (RPM) and intramuscular injections of folic acid and vitamin B12, given from 3 wk before calving to 16 wk of lactation, on hepatic metabolism of lactating dairy cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein cows were assigned to 10 blocks of 6 cows each according to their previous milk production. Within each block, 3 cows were fed a diet calculated to supply Met as 1.83% of metabolizable protein, whereas the 3 other cows were fed the same diet supplemented with 18g of RPM calculated to provide Met as 2.23% of metabolizable protein. Within each level of Met, the cows received no vitamin supplement or weekly intramuscular injections of 160mg of folic acid alone or combined with 10mg of vitamin B12. Liver biopsies were taken at 2, 4, 8, and 16 wk of lactation. Liver concentrations of folates and vitamin B12 were increased by their respective supplements but this response to vitamin supplements was altered by methionine supply. Concentrations of total lipids and triglycerides increased in livers of cows fed RPM, whereas concentrations of cholesterol ester, cholesterol, diglycerides, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylcholine were not affected. Folic acid, alone or combined with vitamin B12, tended to increase the ratio of phosphatidylcholine to phosphatidylethanolamine. Gene expression of 5,10-methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase, microsomal transfer protein, and phosphatidylethanolamine methyltransferase were higher in liver of cows fed RPM supplements. The relative mRNA abundance of 5,10-methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase and methylmalonyl-CoA mutase were increased by the combined injections of folic acid and vitamin B12, whereas those of methionine synthase and methionine synthase reductase were not affected by treatments. These results suggest that increasing supply of methyl groups, as preformed labile methyl groups or through methylneogenesis, affected the methylation cycle but had a limited effect on dairy cow performance. The observed effects of the combined supplement of folic acid and vitamin B12 on lactational performance of dairy cows probably result from an improvement of energy metabolism during early lactation. © 2010 American Dairy Science Association.

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