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Ovariectomy improves lactation persistency in dairy cows

Yart, L., Dessauge, F., Finot, L., Barbey, S., Marnet, P.G., Lollivier, V.
Journal of dairy science 2012 v.95 no.7 pp. 3794-3802
Holstein, animal ovaries, apoptosis, calving, dairy cows, dairy industry, epithelial cells, feeding level, lactation, mammary glands, milk, milk yield, milking frequency, ovariectomy, physiological state, secretion, slaughter, steroids
A current trend in the dairy industry is to reduce milk yield at the peak of lactation and improve lactation persistency. Lactation persistency is influenced by livestock management factors, such as feeding level or milking frequency, or by physiological status, including reproductive status or calving period. These factors modulate mammary gland apoptosis and tissue remodeling, which determine the rate of decline of milk yield after the lactation peak. Previous studies on lactating cows suggested that ovarian steroids have a negative effect on milk yield after the peak of lactation. In the present study, 4 Holstein × Normande crossbred multiparous cows were ovariectomized at the time of the lactation peak, and 5 cows underwent sham operations. All of the cows were maintained in lactation for 14mo and milk yield was recorded daily. At slaughter, mammary epithelial cell apoptosis and mammary tissue remodeling were assessed. Ovariectomized cows had improved lactation persistency and presented an average daily milk gain of 2.5kg compared with the sham-operated cows between mo 6 and 14 of lactation. The ovariectomy appears to have limited the decline in the milk yield after the peak of lactation by reducing mammary epithelial cell apoptosis [by reducing poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase expression] and mammary-tissue remodeling (by reducing matrix metalloproteinase activity). In conclusion, removal of ovarian secretion via ovariectomy improved the cows’ lactation persistency.