U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cunningham‑Hollinger et al. BMC Res Notes (2021) 14:361



Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Objective: Realimentation can compensate for weight loss from poor-quality feedstuffs or drought. Mature cows fluctuate in body weight throughout the year due to nutrient availability. The objective of this study was to determine whether cows that differ in weight gain during realimentation also differ in the abundance of transcripts for enzymes associated with energy utilization in skeletal muscle. Mature cows were subjected to feed restriction followed by ad libitum feed. Skeletal muscle transcriptome expression differences during the two feeding periods were determined from cows with greater (n = 6) and less (n = 6) weight gain during the ad libitum feeding period. Results: A total of 567 differentially expressed genes (408 up- and 159 down-regulated) were identified for the comparison of restriction and ad libitum periods (PBonferroni < 0.05). These genes were over-represented in lysosome, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, and glutathione metabolism pathways. Validation of the expression of five of the genes was performed and four were confirmed. These data suggest that realimentation weight gain for all cows is partially controlled by protein turnover, but oxidative stress and cellular signaling pathways are also involved in the muscle tissue. This dataset provides insight into molecular mechanisms utilized by mature cows during realimentation after a period of low abundance feed.