Metabolic disorders are often linked to alterations in insulin signaling. Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids modulate immunometabolic responses; thus, we examined the effects of peripartum n-3 on systemic and adipose tissue (AT)-specific insulin sensitivity, immune function, and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in dairy cows. Cows were supplemented peripartum with saturated fat (CTL) or flaxseed supplement rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Blood immunometabolic biomarkers were examined, and at 5–8 d postpartum (PP), an intravenous glucose-tolerance-test (GTT) and AT biopsies were performed. Insulin sensitivity in AT was assessed by phosphoproteomics and proteomics. Peripartum n-3 reduced the plasma concentrations of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-17α, lowered the percentage of white blood cells PP, and reduced inflammatory proteins in AT. Systemic insulin sensitivity was higher in ALA than in CTL. In AT, the top canonical pathways, according to the differential phosphoproteome in ALA, were protein-kinase-A signaling and insulin-receptor signaling; network analysis and immunoblots validated the lower phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt), and lower abundance of insulin receptor, together suggesting reduced insulin sensitivity in ALA AT. The n-3 reduced the plasma concentrations of ECS-associated ligands, and lowered the abundances of cannabinoid-1-receptor and monoglycerol-lipase in peripheral blood mononuclear cells PP. Peripartum ALA supplementation in dairy cows improved systemic insulin sensitivity and immune function, reduced ECS components, and had tissue-specific effects on insulin-sensitivity in AT, possibly counter-balancing the systemic responses.
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