Effects of a single glucocorticoid injection on propylene glycol-treated cows with clinical ketosis

S.G.A. van der Drift*, M. Houweling, Marina Bouman, A.P. Koets, A.G.M. Tielens, M. Nielen, R. Jorritsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the metabolic effects of glucocorticoids when administered to propylene glycol-treated cows with clinical ketosis. Clinical ketosis was defined by depressed feed intake and milk production, and a maximal score for acetoacetate in urine. All cows received 250 mL oral propylene glycol twice daily for 3 days and were randomly assigned to a single intramuscular injection with sterile isotonic saline solution (n = 14) or dexamethasone-21-isonicotinate (n = 17). Metabolic blood variables were monitored for 6 days and adipose tissue variables for 3 days. β-Hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentrations in blood decreased in all cows during treatment, but were lower in glucocorticoid-treated cows. Cows treated with glucocorticoids had higher plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, whereas concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids, 3-methylhistidine and growth hormone were unaffected. mRNA expression of hormone-sensitive lipase, BHBA receptor and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor type γ in adipose tissue was not affected. This shows that lipolytic effects do not appear to be important in ketotic cows when glucocorticoids are combined with PG. Plasma 3-methyl histidine concentrations were similar in both groups, suggesting that glucocorticoids did not increase muscle breakdown and that the greater rise in plasma glucose in glucocorticoid-treated cows may not be due to increased supply of glucogenic amino acids from muscle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-149
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Clinical ketosis
  • Dairy cow
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Propylene glycol
  • β-Hydroxybutyrate


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