To sustain the nutrient demands of rapid fetal growth, parturition, and milk synthesis, periparturient dairy cows mobilize adipose tissue fatty acid stores through lipolysis. This process induces an inflammatory response within AT that is resolved as lactation progresses; however, excessive and protracted lipolysis compounds the risk for metabolic and inflammatory diseases. The suppression of lipolytic action and inflammation, along with amplification of adipogenesis and lipogenesis, serve as prospective therapeutic targets for improving the health of periparturient dairy cows. Generally, the activation of cannabinoid receptors by endocannabinoids enhances adipogenesis and lipogenesis, suppresses lipolysis, and increases appetite in mammals. These biological effects of activating the endocannabinoid system open the possibility of harnessing the endocannabinoid system through nutritional intervention in dairy herds as a potential tool to improve dairy cows’ health, although much is still to be revealed in this context. This review summarizes the current knowledge surrounding the components of the endocannabinoid system, elaborates on the metabolic effects of its activation, and explores the potential to modulate its activity in periparturient dairy cows.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (Grant IS-5167-19). MNS was supported in part by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (Washington, DC, USA) competitive project 2019-67015-29443.
© 2021, The Author(s).
- Adipose tissue
- Dairy cow health
- Endocannabinoid system