Document Type


Publication Date



Recent studies have suggested that dietary rumen-protected choline (RPC) supplementation can modulate immune function, attenuate inflammation, and improve performance in periparturient dairy cattle; however, this has yet to be evaluated during a mastitis challenge. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the effects of supplementation and dose of RPC on metabolism, inflammation, and performance during an intramammary lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. Parous Holstein cows (parity, mean ± SD, 1.9 ± 1.1 at enrollment) were blocked by calving month and randomly assigned within block to receive either 45 g/d of RPC (20.4 g/d of choline ions; CHOL45, n = 18), 30 g/d of RPC (13.6 g/d of choline ions; CHOL30, n = 21), or no RPC (CON, n = 19) as a top-dress starting 24 d before expected calving until 21 d postpartum. Cows were alternately assigned within treatment group to either receive an intramammary LPS challenge (200 μg in each rear quarter; Escherichia coli O111:B4) or not at 17 DIM. Before the challenge, CHOL45 and CHOL30 cows produced 3.4 and 3.8 (±1.2 SED) kg/d more milk than CON, respectively. Dietary RPC supplementation did not mitigate the milk loss associated with the intramammary LPS challenge; however, CHOL45 and CHOL30 cows produced 3.1 and 3.5 (±1.4 SED) kg/d more milk than CON, respectively in the carryover period (22 to 84 DIM). Dietary RPC supplementation enhanced plasma β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations before the LPS challenge, and increased plasma nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and acetylcarnitine concentrations during the LPS challenge, potentially reflecting greater adipose tissue mobilization, fatty acid transport and oxidation. Aside from trimethylamine N-oxide and sarcosine, which were increased in CHOL45-LPS as compared with CON-LPS, most other choline metabolite concentrations in plasma were unaffected by treatment, likely because more choline was being secreted in milk. Plasma lactic acid concentrations were decreased in CHOL45-LPS and CHOL30-LPS as compared with CON-LPS, suggesting a reduction in glycolysis or an enhancement in the flux through the lactic acid cycle to support gluconeogenesis. Plasma concentrations of fumaric acid, a byproduct of AA catabolism and the urea cycle, were increased in both choline groups as compared with CON-LPS during the LPS challenge. Cows in the CHOL45 group had greater plasma antioxidant potential before the LPS challenge and reduced plasma methionine sulfoxide concentrations during the LPS challenge compared with CON-LPS, suggesting an improvement in oxidant status. Nevertheless, concentrations of inflammatory markers such as haptoglobin and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) were not affected by treatment. Taken together, our data suggest that the effects of dietary RPC supplementation on milk yield could be mediated through metabolic pathways and are unlikely to be related to the resolution of inflammation in periparturient dairy cattle. Lastly, dose responses to dietary RPC supplementation were not found for various economically important outcomes including milk yield, limiting the justification for feeding a greater dietary RPC dose in industry.

Publication Title

Journal of Dairy Science





First Page


Last Page


DOI of Published Version





© 2023, The Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Dairy Science Commons