Metabolome and proteome changes in skeletal muscle and blood of pre-weaning calves fed leucine and threonine supplemented diets

Kuai Yu, Manolis Matzapetakis, Anita Horvatić, Marta Terré, Alex Bach, Josipa Kuleš, Natalia Yeste, Néstor Gómez, Laura Arroyo, Elisabet Rodríguez-Tomàs, Raquel Peña, Nicolas Guillemin, André M. de Almeida, Peter David Eckersall, Anna Bassols

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In pre-weaning calves, both leucine and threonine play important roles in growth and muscle metabolism. In this study, metabolomics, proteomics and clinical chemistry were used to assess the effects of leucine and threonine supplementation added to milk replacer on 14 newborn Holstein male calves: 7 were fed a control diet (Ctrl) and 7 were fed the Ctrl diet supplemented with 0.3% leucine and 0.3% threonine (LT) from 5.6 days of age to 53.6 days. At this time, blood and semitendinosus muscle biopsies were collected for analysis. Integrated metabolomics and proteomics showed that branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) degradation and mitochondrial oxidative metabolism (citrate cycle and respiratory chain) were the main activated pathways in muscle because of the supplementation. BCAA derivatives and metabolites related to lipid mobilization showed the major changes. The deleterious effects of activated oxidative phosphorylation were balanced by the upregulation of antioxidant proteins. An increase in protein synthesis was indicated by elevated aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis and increased S6 ribosomal protein phosphorylation in skeletal muscle. In conclusion, LT group showed greater BCAA availability and mitochondrial oxidative activity; as the muscle cells undergo greater aerobic metabolism, antioxidant defenses were activated to compensate for possible cell damage. Data are available via ProteomeXchange (PXD016098). Significance: Leucine and threonine are essential amino acids for the pre-weaning calf, being of high importance for growth. In this study, we found that leucine and threonine supplementation of milk replacer to feed pre-weaning calves led to differences in the proteome, metabolome and clinical chemistry analytes in skeletal muscle and plasma, albeit no differences in productive performance were recorded. This study extends our understanding on the metabolism in dairy calves and helps optimizing their nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103677
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020


  • Amino acid
  • Calf
  • Metabolomics
  • Muscle
  • Plasma
  • Proteomics


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