Nutritional modulation of immunity and physiological responses in beef calves
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Twenty-four crossbred steer calves (235 + 6 kg initial BW) were weaned, adapted to a growing diet, trained to use Calan feeders and assigned to one of four treatments in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement as follows: (1) no transit stress and saline injection, (2) no transit stress and trace mineral and vitamin E (TM/VitE) injections, (3) transit stress and saline injection and (4) transit stress and TM/VitE injection. TM/VitE injections consisted of MultiminTM to provide 0.3, 0.6, 0.15 and 0.6 mg of Cu, Mn, Se, and Zn/kg BW, respectively, and Vita ETM to provide 9 IU of VitE/kg BW on d 0 and 21 of the study. On d 24, transit-stressed steers were subjected to a three-d, 2000-km, transportation period. During the 56-d experiment, liver and serum samples were assayed to assess trace mineral status, antibody titers to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) measured to assess humoral immunity and phytohemagglutinin(PHA)- and ovalbumin(OVA)-induced skin swelling and lymphocyte proliferation measured to assess cellular immunity. TM/VitE-injected steers grew slower (P < 0.05) over the first 24 d of the experiment and tended (P = 0.10) to grow slower after transit. TM/VitE injections increased (P < 0.05) liver Cu and Zn concentrations 135 and 21 % by d 30, respectively. TM/VitE-injected steers had increased (P < 0.05) serum Cu on d 24 and 26, but decreased (P < 0.05) serum Zn and whole blood Se compared to saline-injected steers on d 24 and 56. TM/VitE injections increased serum α-tocopherol concentrations. TM/VitE injections did not affect humoral immunity, but decreased (P < 0.05) skin-swelling responses to PHA on d 21, and decreased (P < 0.05) lymphocyte proliferation to OVA and KLH. Transit-stressed steers had higher (P < 0.05) serum Cu on d 26, and higher (P < 0.05) liver Cu concentrations on d 56 than non-transit-stressed steers. Transit stress did not affect serum Zn or whole blood Se concentrations. Injections of TM/VitE increased Cu, Zn and vitamin E, but not Se status. The TM/VitE treatment suppressed growth and cellular immune function suggesting that levels of trace minerals used in this study were too high.
Kurz, Michael Wayne (2004). Nutritional modulation of immunity and physiological responses in beef calves. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from