A recent study at Cornell University confirms again that cows that develop uterine disease experience a greater degree of negative energy balance around calving than their healthier counterparts. These cows also had decreased lower intracellular polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) glycogen levels, which, scientists theorize, could be a major predisposing factor for disease.

In the JulyJournal of Dairy Science, researchers explain that neutrophil function depends on glucose for energy glycogen stores. During the transition to lactation, they note, there is a decrease in glucose availability, which could decrease PMN glycogen stores, contribute to the loss of PMN function around calving and increase susceptibility to uterine disease.

The study evaluated PMN glycogen concentration and blood glucose in cows that developed metritis or subclinical endometritis and in cows that remained healthy. It found that cows that developed uterine disease had reduced neutrophil glycogen stores compared with healthy cows, which could be a predisposing factor for the disease.

In addition, cows that developed metritis and subclinical endometritis had or tended to have greater non-esterified fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyrate than healthy cows, mainly around calving. Cows that developed metritis had higher plasma estradiol concentration than healthy cows at calving and greater plasma cortisol than cows with subclinical endometritis.