Pregnancy, parturition, and the onset of lactation represent an enormous physiological and hormonal challenge to the homeostasis of dairy animals, being a risk for their health and reproduction. Thus, as a part of the homothetic changes in preparturition period, goats undergo a period of IR as well as uncoupled GH/IGF-1 axis. The objective for this study was to determine the effect of berberine (BBR) during the peripartal period on hormonal alteration and somatotropic axis in dairy goats as well as glucose and insulin kinetics during an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT). At 21 days before the expected kidding date, 24 primiparous Saanen goats were assigned randomly to 4 dietary treatments. Goats were fed a basal diet from wk. 3 antepartum (AP) until wk. 3 postpartum (PP) supplemented with 0 (CTRL), 1 (BBR1), 2 (BBR2), and 4 (BBR4) g/d BBR. Blood samples were collected on days − 21, − 14, − 7, 0, 7, 14, and 21 relative to the expected kidding date. An IVGTT was also performed on day 22 PP.
Compared with CTRL, supplementation with either BBR2 or BBR4 increased DMI at kidding day and PP, as well as body conditional score (BCS) and milk production ( p ≤ 0.05). On d 7 and 14 PP plasma glucose was higher in BBR2- and BBR4-treated than in CTRL. The glucagon concentration was not affected by BBR during the experimental period. However, supplemental BBR indicated a tendency to decrease in cortisol concentration on days 7 ( p = 0.093) and 14 ( p = 0.100) PP. Lower plasma GH was observed in BBR than in non-BBR goats ( p ≤ 0.05). Plasma IGF-1 concentration was enhanced in both BBR2 and BBR4 at kidding and day 7 PP ( p ≤ 0.05). During the IVGTT, glucose area under the curve (AUC), clearance rate (CR), T 1/2, and T basal was lower ( p ≤ 0.05) in both BBR2 and BBR4 goats as compared with CTRL. Likewise, the insulin CR was higher ( p ≤ 0.05) in goats receiving either BBR2 or BBR4 which was accompanied by a lower insulin T 1/2 and AUC.