Markers of Oxidative Status in Plasma and Erythrocytes of Transition Dairy Cows During Hot Season1
U. Bernabucci , B. Ronchi , N. Lacetera and A. Nardone
Department of Animal Production, University of Tuscia, via C. De Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
U. Bernabucci; e-mail:
The study was carried out to assess whether hot seasons affect the oxidative status of transition dairy cows. Twenty Holstein cows were utilized. Eleven of those cows gave birth in spring; the remaining nine cows gave birth in summer. Oxidative status was evaluated from 21 d before to 35 d after calving, determining oxidative markers in plasma [glutathione peroxidase activity, thiol groups, reactive oxygen metabolites, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS)] and in erythrocytes [glutathione peroxidase activity (GSH-Px-E), intracellular thiols (SH), superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) and TBARS]. The season did not modify plasma oxidative markers. In contrast, cows exposed to moderate heat stress (39.5 ± 0.2°C rectal temperatures) due to summer temperature-humidity index (73.2 ± 2.5 mean daily THI), showed higher erythrocyte SOD, GSH-Px-E, SH, and TBARS compared with spring cows, indicating a condition of oxidative stress in summer transition dairy cows. Some changes (the increase of SOD, for example), represent compensatory changes the cow is undergoing in response to increased oxidative stress. Under the conditions compared, the effect of heat stress on oxidative status in transition dairy cows by use of plasma markers does not give enough information to reach definitive conclusions. Erythrocytes are an appropriate and sensitive model to study the oxidative status of transition dairy cows exposed to hot environments.
Abbreviation key: GSH-Px-E = erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase, GSH-Px-P = plasma glutathione peroxidase, MDA = malondialdehyde, PCV = packed cells volume, ROM = reactive oxygen metabolites, RR = respiration rates, RT = rectal temperatures, SH = intracellular thiols, SHp = plasma thiols, SOD = superoxide dismutase, SP = spring, SU = summer, TBARS = thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, THI = temperature-humidity index
Key Words: oxidative status marker • hot environment • transition dairy cow
J. Dairy Sci. 85:2173-2179. © American Dairy Science Association, 2002.