Effects of Environmental Heat Load on Endocannabinoid System Components in Adipose Tissue of High Yielding Dairy Cows

Gitit Kra, Jayasimha Rayalu Daddam, Uzi Moallem, Hadar Kamer, Majdoleen Ahmad, Alina Nemirovski, G. Andres Contreras, Joseph Tam, Maya Zachut*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Environmental heat load (HL) adversely affects the performance of dairy cows. The endo-cannabinoid system (ECS) regulates metabolism and the stress response, thus we hypothesized that HL may affect the ECS of dairy cows. Our objective was to determine the levels of endocannabinoids (eCBs) and gene and protein expressions of the ECS components in adipose tissue (AT) and plasma of early postpartum (PP) and late-lactation cows. In addition, we examined eCBs in milk, and studied the interaction of eCBs with bovine cannabinoids receptors CB1 and CB2. In the first experiment, plasma and AT were sampled from cows calving during summer (S, n = 9) or winter (W, n = 9). Dry matter intake (DMI) and energy balance (EB) were lower in S vs. W, and relative gene expressions of transient-receptor-potential-cation-channel-subfamily-V-member-1 (TRPV1), the cannabinoid receptors CNR1 (CB1) and CNR2 (CB2), and monoglyceride lipase (MGLL) were decreased in AT of S compared to W. Protein abundance of peroxisome proliferator-activated-receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) was decreased, while tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was increased in AT of S vs. W. Other components of the ECS were not different between S and W calving cows. To study whether the degree of HL may affect the ECS, we performed a second experiment with 24 late-lactation cows that were either cooled (CL) or not cooled (heat-stressed; HS) during summer. DMI was lower in HS vs. CL, AT protein abundance of PPAR-α was lower, and TRPV1 tended to be lower in HS vs. CL, but other components of the ECS were not different between groups. Milk levels of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) tended to increase in HS vs. CL. Additionally, modeling of the bovine cannabinoid receptors demonstrated their binding to anandamide and 2-AG. Environmental HL, possibly via lower intake, is associated with limited alterations in ECS components in AT of dairy cows.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number795
Issue number6
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • 2-AG
  • AEA
  • Adipose tissue
  • CB1
  • Dairy cows
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Heat stress
  • PPAR-α
  • TRPV1


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