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A Redefinition Of The Representation Of Mammary Cells And Enzyme Activities In A Lactating Dairy Cow Model.

M. Hanigan, A. Ríus, E. Kolver, C. Palliser
Published 2007 · Biology, Medicine

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The Molly model predicts various aspects of digestion and metabolism in the cow, including nutrient partitioning between milk and body stores. It has been observed previously that the model underpredicts milk component yield responses to nutrition and consequently overpredicts body energy store responses. In Molly, mammary enzyme activity is represented as an aggregate of mammary cell numbers and activity per cell with minimal endocrine regulation. Work by others suggests that mammary cells can cycle between active and quiescent states in response to various stimuli. Simple models of milk production have demonstrated the utility of this representation when using the model to simulate variable milking and nutrient restriction. It was hypothesized that replacing the current representation of mammary cells and enzyme activity in Molly with a representation of active and quiescent cells and improving the representation of endocrine control of cell activity would improve predictions of milk component yield. The static representation of cell numbers was replaced with a representation of cell growth during gestation and early lactation periods and first-order cell death. Enzyme capacity for fat and protein synthesis was assumed to be proportional to cell numbers. Enzyme capacity for lactose synthesis was represented with the same equation form as for cell numbers. Data used for parameter estimation were collected as part of an extended lactation trial. Cows with North American or New Zealand genotypes were fed 0, 3, or 6 kg of concentrate dry matter daily during a 600-d lactation. The original model had root mean square prediction errors of 17.7, 22.3, and 19.8% for lactose, protein, and fat yield, respectively, as compared with values of 8.3, 9.4, and 11.7% for the revised model, respectively. The original model predicted body weight with an error of 19.7% vs. 5.7% for the revised model. Based on these observations, it was concluded that representing mammary synthetic capacity as a function of active cell numbers and revisions to endocrine control of cell activity was meritorious.
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