Supplemental choline for prevention and alleviation of fatty liver in dairy cattle. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two experiments were conducted to evaluate if supplementing rumen-protected choline (RPC; Reashure, Balchem Encapsulates, Slate Hill, NY) could prevent or alleviate fatty liver in dairy cattle. The first experiment evaluated the effect of supplementing RPC on hepatic triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation during fatty liver induction. Twenty-four dry cows between 45 to 60 d prepartum were paired by body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) and randomly assigned to control or supplementation with 15 g of choline as RPC/d. From d 0 to 6, before treatment application, all cows were fed 1.4 kg/d of concentrate and forage ad libitum. Samples of blood and liver, obtained during the pretreatment period, were used for covariate adjustment of blood metabolites and liver composition data. During fatty liver induction (d 7 to 17), cows were fed 1.4 kg/d of concentrate with or without supplementation with RPC, and forage intake was restricted, so cows consumed 30% of the total energy requirements for pregnancy and maintenance. Supplementation with RPC during fatty liver induction did not affect plasma glucose and plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentration but did decrease plasma nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA; 703 vs. 562 microEq/L, SE = 40) and liver TAG accumulation (16.7 vs. 9.3 microg/microg of DNA, SE = 2.0). In the second experiment, we evaluated the effect of supplementing RPC on the clearance of liver TAG when cows were fed ad libitum after the induction of fatty liver by feed restriction. Twenty-eight cows between 45 and 60 d prepartum were paired according to BCS and BW and assigned to treatments. Fatty liver was induced by feeding 1.4 kg/d of concentrate (without RPC) and restricting forage intake, so cows consumed 30% of maintenance and pregnancy energy requirements for 10 d. From d 11 to 16, after feed restriction, cows were fed forage ad libitum and 1.4 kg/d of concentrate with or without RPC. Treatments were not applied during fatty liver induction; however, following feed restriction, liver for cows assigned to control and RPC treatments contained 6.8 and 12.7 microg of TAG/microg of DNA, respectively. Measurements obtained before treatment served as covariates for statistical analysis. During the depletion phase, plasma glucose, BHBA, and NEFA were not affected by treatment. Liver TAG, expressed as covariate adjusted means, was 6.0 and 4.9 microg/microg of DNA (SE = 0.4) on d 13, and 5.0 and 1.5 microg/microg of DNA (SE = 0.9) on d 16 for control and RPC, respectively. Rumen-protected choline can prevent and possibly alleviate fatty liver induced by feed restriction.

published proceedings

  • J Dairy Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Cooke, R. F., Silva Del Ro, N., Caraviello, D. Z., Bertics, S. J., Ramos, M. H., & Grummer, R. R.

citation count

  • 87

publication date

  • January 2007