Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 21, 2009
Publication Date: August 17, 2009
Citation: Lippolis, J.D. 2009. Understanding the Relationship Between Immunity and Dairy Cow Production. Hoard's Dairyman. 154 (13):481.
A considerable amount of research is focused on understanding factors that affect the immune system. Nutrition, stress, and reproductive status are examples of generalized events that can have a dramatic impact on the functionality of the immune system. Previously it was thought that the effects of these general health factors only had an ancillary affect on immune function. However, as we learn more about cellular and molecular immune pathways, these general health issues and their effects on the immune system are being defined at the molecular level. For example, feed components, such as vitamins, have a direct effect on which genes are on or off in immune cells. Therefore, understanding how vitamins interact with the immune system will help in developing disease control and management strategies that will aid in maintaining good health in dairy cattle, resulting in greater production.