The effect of docosahexaenoic acid-rich algae supplementation in milk replacer on performance and selected immune system functions in calves
Jadwiga Flaga , Łukasz Korytkowski , Paweł Górka , Zygmunt Kowalski
AbstractThe aim of this study was to determine the effect of docosahexaenoic acid-rich algae (DHA-RA) supplementation in milk replacer (MR) on performance, selected cytokine expression in lymphocytes, and blood immunoglobulin concentration in newborn dairy calves. Forty female Holstein-Friesian calves (8.6 ± 0.8 d old and 41.1 ± 4.3 kg; mean ± standard deviation) were blocked by date of birth and allocated into 4 experimental groups (10 animals/group): (1) not supplemented with DHA-RA, (2) supplemented with 9 g of DHA-RA/d in MR, (3) supplemented with 18 g of DHA-RA/d in MR, and (4) supplemented with 27 g of DHA-RA/d in MR. Milk replacer was fed in an amount equal to 900 g of MR powder/d (as fed), 2 times a d, for 49 d. Starter mixture (SM) was fed ad libitum beginning on d 15 of the study. Each calf was in the study over a period of 49 d. The MR and SM intake and fecal score were recorded daily and body weight was recorded weekly. Blood samples were collected before the morning feeding, at the beginning of the study, every consecutive week, and at the end of the study for morphology and smear analysis, serum immunoglobulin level (IgG, IgA, and IgM), and lymphocyte isolation. The mRNA isolated from lymphocytes was checked for TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, and p65 expression. Average daily gain between d 1 to 14 of the study increased quadratically with increasing dose of DHA-RA. However, average daily gain between d 15 to 49 of the study tended to linearly decrease and over the whole study linearly decreased with increasing dose of DHA-RA. The MR intake decreased linearly between d 1 to 14 of the study and over the whole study, and mean SM intake decreased quadratically with increasing dose of DHA-RA. Feed efficiency increased quadratically and fecal score decreased quadratically during the first 14 d of the study. Increasing dose of DHA-RA led to cubic changes in feed efficiency and fecal score between d 15 and 49 of the study. Overall, over the whole study period a tendency was observed for lower fecal score for the DHA-RA supplemented groups. Interleukin-1β mRNA expression decreased linearly, whereas the mRNA expression of p65 and TNFα as well as serum IgG concentration tended to decrease linearly with increasing dose of supplemental DHA-RA. No effect of group was found on IgA and IgM serum level and the majority of blood parameters. Altogether, treatment worsened production variables but seemed to have a beneficial effect on the immune system of calves.
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