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.
van der Drift, S. G. A., Houweling, M., Bouman, M., Koets, A. P., Tielens, A. G. M., Nielen, M., & Jorritsma, R. (2015). Effects of a single glucocorticoid injection on propylene glycol-treated cows with clinical ketosis. The Veterinary Journal, 204(2), 144-149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2015.01.016