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The peripartal dairy cow experiences a state of reduced liver function coupled with increased inflammation and oxidative stress. This study evaluated the effect of supplementing basal diets with rumen-protected Met in the form of MetaSmart (MS) or Smartamine M (SM) (both from Adisseo Inc., Antony, France) during the peripartal period on blood and hepatic biomarkers of liver function, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Thirty-seven multiparous Holstein cows were fed the same basal diet from −50 to −21 d relative to expected calving [1.24 Mcal/kg of dry matter (DM); no Met supplementation]. From −21 d to calving, the cows received diets (1.54 Mcal/kg of DM) with no added Met (control, CON; n = 13), CON plus MS (n = 11), or CON plus SM (n = 13). From calving through 30 d in milk (DIM), the cows received the same postpartal diet (1.75 Mcal/kg of DM; CON), or CON plus MS or CON plus SM. Liver and blood samples were harvested at various time points from −21 to 21 d relative to calving. Preplanned contrasts of CON versus SM + MS during prepartum (−21 and −10 d before calving) and postpartum (7, 14, and 21 d after calving) responses were evaluated. Cows fed MS or SM compared with CON had lower overall concentrations of plasma ceruloplasmin and serum amyloid A (SAA). Compared with CON, Met-supplemented cows had greater overall plasma oxygen radical absorbance capacity. Liver concentrations of glutathione and carnitine also were greater overall with Met supplementation. Milk choline and liver phosphatidylcholine were lower overall in cows fed Met compared with controls. Liver tissue choline concentrations did not differ. Data indicate that supplemental Met enhanced de novo glutathione and carnitine synthesis in liver and, thus, increased antioxidant and β-oxidation capacity. The greater decrease of IL-6 after calving coupled with lower ceruloplasmin and SAA in Met-supplemented cows indicated a reduction in proinflammatory signaling within liver. The lower hepatic phosphatidylcholine in Met-supplemented cows might have been associated with greater assembly or export of very low density lipoproteins. Overall, biomarker analyses in blood and tissue indicate that the beneficial effect of feeding SM and MS on postpartal cow performance is due in part to a better immunometabolic status.


open access article