Metabolomic changes in lactating multiparous naturally MAP-infected Holstein-Friesian dairy cows suggest changes in mitochondrial energy pathways

E. N. Taylor, M. Beckmann, G. Hewinson, D. Rooke, L. A. Sinclair, L. A.J. Mur*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative organism of Johne's Disease, a chronic intestinal infection of ruminants. Infected cows begin shedding MAP within the asymptomatic, subclinical stage of infection before clinical signs, such as weight loss, diarrhoea and reduced milk yields develop within the clinical stages of disease. Herein, we examine the milk metabolomic profiles of naturally MAP-infected Holstein-Friesian cows. The study used biobanked milk samples which were collected 73.4 ± 3.79 (early lactation) and 143 ± 3.79 (mean ± SE) (mid-lactation) days post-calving from 5 MAP-infected and 5 control multiparous cows. The milk metabolome was assessed using flow infusion electrospray high-resolution mass spectrometry (FIE-HRMS) for sensitive, non-targeted metabolite fingerprinting. Metabolite fingerprinting assessments using partial least squares discriminate analyses (PLS-DA) indicated that lactation stage was a larger source of variation than MAP status. Examining each lactation stage separately for changes associated to MAP-infection status identified 45 metabolites, 33 in early lactation and 12 in mid-lactation, but only 6 metabolites were targeted in both stages of lactation. Pathway enrichment analysis suggested that MAP affected the malate-aspartate shuffle during early lactation. Pearson's correlation analysis indicated relationships between milk lactose concentrations in mid-lactation and 6 metabolites that were tentatively linked to MAP-infection status. The targeted metabolites were suggestive of wider changes in the bioenergetic metabolism that appear to be an acceleration of the effects of progressing lactation in healthy cows. Additionally, milk lactose concentrations suggest that MAP reduces the availability of lactose derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Early online date12 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022


  • Lactation
  • Lactose
  • Metabolomics
  • Milk
  • Mitochondria
  • Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis


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