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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Feeding a high-concentrate corn straw diet increased the release of endotoxin in the rumen and pro-inflammatory cytokines in the mammary gland of dairy cows

Jun Zhou1, Guozhong Dong1*, Changjin Ao2, Sen Zhang1, Min Qiu1, Xi Wang1, Yongxia Wu1, Khas Erdene2, Lu Jin1, Chunlong Lei1 and Zhu Zhang1

Author Affiliations

1 College of Animal Science and Technology, Southwest University, and Key Laboratory of Grass and Herbivores of Chongqing, 2 Tiansheng St., Beibei, Chongqing 400716, P.R. China

2 College of Animal Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, 306 Zhaowuda St., Hohhot 010018, Inner Mongolia, P.R. China

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:172  doi:10.1186/s12917-014-0172-0

Published: 1 August 2014

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of feeding a high-concentrate corn straw diet on the release of endotoxin in the rumen and the changes of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the mammary gland of dairy cows in comparison with a low-concentrate corn straw diet and a low-concentrate mixed forage diet. Thirty second-parity Chinese Holstein cows in mid-lactation with a body condition score of 2.86 ± 0.29, weighing 543 ± 57 kg and producing 24.32 ± 3.86 kg milk per day were randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 diets (n = 10 per treatment): 1) low-concentrate mixed forage diet (LCF) with a concentrate to roughage ratio of 46 : 54; 2) high-concentrate corn straw diet (HCS) with a concentrate to roughage ratio of 65 : 35; 3) low-concentrate corn straw diet (LCS) with the same concentrate to roughage ratio (46 : 54) as LCF. The experiment lasted 6 weeks, and samples were collected in the last week. Milk samples were analyzed for conventional components, rumen fluid samples were analyzed for pH and endotoxin, and mammary arterial and venous plasma samples were analyzed for concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α).

Results

Concentrations of endotoxin in rumen fluid and feces of cows fed HCS were significantly higher than those of cows fed LCS and LCF. Feeding HCS increased the release of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 in the mammary gland compared with feeding LCS. Concentrations of cytokines (IL-1β and IL-8) in mammary venous plasma had a negative correlation with milk production efficiencies.

Conclusions

Results indicated that the high-concentrate corn straw diet increased the concentrations of endotoxin in rumen fluid and feces. Furthermore, feeding the high-concentrate corn straw diet stimulated the mammary gland to release more pro-inflammatory cytokines. The results suggest that feeding a high-concentrate corn straw diet induce a higher pro-inflammatory response in the mammary gland and thus may partly decrease the milk production efficiencies in dairy cows.

Keywords:
Cytokine; Dairy cow; Endotoxin; Mammary gland