Thyroid Hormones, Insulin, Body Fat, and Blood Biochemistry Indices in Dairy Cows During the Reproduction/Production Cycle

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This study investigated the changes in: thyroid hormones, amount of subcutaneous fat, and selected indices of blood biochemistry in dairy cows in relation to the reproduction/production cycle. The blood samples were collected both ante- and post-partum every two weeks. When evaluating the mean values of the investigated indices, the major changes were recorded in dairy cows 3 to 14 days after calving. During this period, we observed a significant decrease in the mean serum levels of T3 (P < 0.05), T4 (P < 0.01), and triglycerides (P < 0.01). An opposite trend was observed with a significant increase after calving in the: mean serum levels of β-hydroxybutyrate (P < 0.05), urea (P < 0.01), and mean AST activities (P < 0.05). A significant increase over the normal range was recorded in the average levels of non-esterified fatty acids (P < 0.01) and total bilirubin (P < 0.01). From the next sampling (28 days after calving) onwards we recorded a significant increase in the blood serum levels of cholesterol (P < 0.01), total lipids (P < 0.01), total protein (P < 0.01), as well as a significant decrease in the insulin levels (P < 0.05) and a reduced layer of subcutaneous fat (P < 0.01). The blood serum iodine concentration showed only slight significant changes (P < 0.05) during the observation. Blood serum levels of glucose did not show any significant changes during the whole observation period. Within the whole observation period we found a negative correlation between T3 levels and the layer of subcutaneous fat (r = −0.2606; P < 0.05). This correlation was much more marked in cows 3 to 14 days after calving (r = −0.5077; P < 0.05), which may indicate a possible relationships between the thyroid status, body condition, and post partum negative energy balance.

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