Farina / Agazzi

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Greta Farina graduated with honors in Science and Technology of Animal Production at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Study of Milan in October 2010 discussing a thesis entitled “Preliminary investigation on different milking procedures on hygienic aspect of buffalo milk”.
After graduation, she worked for almost three years for a genetic company selling semen for artificial insemination of dairy cows and doing mating plans, with some experiences abroad.
Her research is concerned with animal nutrition, the study of nutrient supplements with their effect on animal production and animal health.


Dr. Alessandro Agazzi is researcher in Animal Nutrition from 2006 at the Università degli Studi di Milano- Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA). He has published 28 papers on international scientific journals with impact factor and these publications have been cited more than 90 times with an H-index of 5.
The general topic of his work is the role of nutrition of both monogastric and poligastric animals on performance and health status.
In recent years the research activity has focused on the efficacy of natural compounds, growth promoter alternatives, and fatty acids sources as mediators on inflammation, immune response and gut health with special regard to polyunsaturated fatty acids.
For more information, see:

Research project

Use of ω3/6 fatty acids and antioxidants in monogastric and poligastric nutrition to modulate immune response and increase animal health status

During this last decade the use of several compounds and raw materials containing high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from ω3 and ω6 series, gained increasing interest in ruminants and monogastric nutrition. Previous studies demonstrated that some fatty acids are not only passive energy-providing molecules but also metabolic regulators able to act in an hormone-like manner in the control of transcription factors involved in lipid metabolism, immune response and milk fatty acid secretion. This is particularly true in high stressful periods where host defenses can be dramatically decreased and lead to higher incidence of pathologies.


Anyway high-PUFAs containing compounds can overcome oxidation processes that can be decreased using antioxidant molecules such as Vitamin E. The most powerful immunomodulatory effect is achieved by two ω3 PUFAs, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5[ω3]) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA C22:6[ω3]). These PUFAs alter the levels of phospholipid-derived second messengers and the composition of lipid-raft associated proteins, modulating the production of inflammatory eicosanoids and interfering directly with cytokine gene expression. Most of EPA and DHA activities directly target monocyte/macrophage defensive functions by modulating phagocytosis chemotaxis and proinflammatory cytokine expression. The influence of fatty acids and vitamins, as antioxidants, on miRNA gene expression as well as their physiological consequences has been reported recently both in monogastric and poligastric animals: these compounds seem to be able to regulate the inflammatory response also decreasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or increasing the total antioxidant capacity (TAOC) in the case of vitamins supplementation.


Moreover polyunsaturated fatty acids as been recently discovered as natural PPAR ligands that can influence the signaling pathways involved in pathological events. Strong therapeutic effects of these compounds have been evidenced to favorably influence systemic lipid levels and glucose homeostasis.

The objective of the research is to understand the mechanism of action of both EPA and DHA PUFAs and antioxidant inclusion, alone or in combination, in the diets of ruminants and monogastrics on cell mediated immune response, inflammation involved miRNA, ROS production and TAOC.
Moreover the study will focus on expression and fatty acid regulation of key transcription factors and genes involved in lipid metabolism in hepatic and adipose tissue such as PPARs family.
The expected results of the research activity are a increased health status of animals through a better immune response and decreased oxidative status of the animals when fed different sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids.