Effect of butyrate on passive transfer of immunity in dairy calves.


Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow 83844-2330. Electronic address: [Email]


The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of supplemental butyrate on (1) Ig production in dams and (2) Ig absorption in their calves. Twenty dry dams fed a close-up total mixed ration were assigned to either a control treatment (CTRL-D) or a butyrate treatment where the close-up total mixed ration was supplemented with butyrate at 1% of dry matter intake (wt/wt; BUT-D). At calving, calves were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: a control group fed colostrum replacer only (CTRL-C) and a butyrate group fed colostrum replacer with supplemental butyrate at 2.5% (wt/vol; BUT-C). Serum IgG, glucose, and β-hydroxybutyrate were measured weekly in both dams and calves. Additionally, calves were weighed weekly to determine average daily gain. In dams, serum IgG concentration was not different between CTRL-D and BUT-D (1,785 ± 117 vs. 1,736 ± 137 mg/dL, respectively), nor was there a change in Ig levels in the colostrum between control and butyrate groups. Serum total protein did not differ between CTRL-D and BUT-D dams. Dam dry matter intake did not differ between CTRL-D and BUT-D but did decrease 1 wk before parturition. Compared with CTRL-C calves, BUT-C calves had significantly decreased serum IgG concentration at 24 h (2,110 ± 124 vs. 1,400 ± 115 mg/dL), wk 1 (1,397 ± 121 vs. 866 ± 115 mg/dL), and wk 2 (1,310 ± 121 vs. 797 ± 115 mg/dL). Additionally, apparent efficiency of absorption was lower for the BUT-C group compared with the CTRL-C group (35.3 ± 2.1 vs. 25.9 ± 2.0). Differences in serum Ig concentrations between the CTRL-C and BUT-C groups did not affect average daily gain (0.59 ± 0.05 vs. 0.48 ± 0.05 kg/d, respectively), serum glucose concentrations, or serum β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations. These data demonstrate that butyrate inclusion in colostrum negatively affects IgG absorption in newborn calves, whereas calf body weight gains were unaffected.


butyrate,calf,immunoglobulin,passive transfer,

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