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J Nutr. 2001 Apr;131(4):1256-63.

Feeding colostrum, its composition and feeding duration variably modify proliferation and morphology of the intestine and digestive enzyme activities of neonatal calves.

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Division of Nutritional Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.


We studied the effects of amounts of colostrum consumed on intestinal morphology and proliferation and digestive enzyme activities in neonatal calves. Group GrCmax calves were fed colostrum from the first milking undiluted on d 1-3 and diluted with 25, 50, 75 and 75 parts of a milk replacer on d 4-7. Group GrC1-3 calves were fed colostrum from milkings 1-6 up to d 3 and then a milk replacer up to d 7. Group GrF1-3 calves were fed a milk-based formula (containing only traces of growth factors and hormones) up to d 3 and then a milk replacer up to d 7. Calves were killed on d 8. Differences in feeding affected villus sizes and villus height/crypt depth ratios in the duodenum (GrCmax > GrC1-3), villus areas and villus height/crypt depth ratios in the jejunum (GrC1-3 > GrF1-3) and crypt depths in the colon (GrF1-3 > GrC1-3). Furthermore, different feeding protocols affected the proliferation rates of epithelial cells in the duodenum (GrC1-3 > GrCmax; GrC1-3 > GrF1-3) and the jejunum (GrF1-3 > GrC1-3; based on Ki-67 labeling). Lipase activities in the pancreas were influenced by colostrum feeding (GrC(max) > GrC(1-3)). Colostrum intake differentially affected intestinal epithelial surface and proliferation and enzyme activities. Feeding high amounts of first colostrum seemed to enhance the survival of mature mucosal epithelial cells in selected parts of the small intestine, whereas the lack of colostrum seemed to decrease epithelial growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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