Send to

Choose Destination
J Dairy Sci. 2007 Jan;90(1):404-17.

High growth rate fails to enhance adaptive immune responses of neonatal calves and is associated with reduced lymphocyte viability.

Author information

Nutritional Physiology Group, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, 313 Kildee Hall, Ames 50011, USA.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of 3 targeted growth rates on adaptive (i.e., antigen-specific) immune responses of preruminant, milk replacer-fed calves. Calves (9.1 +/- 2.4 d of age) were assigned randomly to one of 3 dietary treatments to achieve 3 targeted daily rates of gain [no growth (maintenance) = 0.0 kg/d, low growth = 0.55 kg/d, or high growth = 1.2 kg/d] over an 8-wk period. The NRC Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle calf model computer program was used to estimate the milk replacer intakes needed to achieve target growth rates. All calves were fed a 30% crude protein, 20% fat, all-milk protein milk replacer reconstituted to 14% dry matter. Diets were formulated to ensure that protein would not be limiting. All calves were vaccinated 3 wk after initiation of dietary treatments with Mycobacterium bovis, strain bacillus Calmette-Guerin and ovalbumin. Growth rates for no-growth (0.11 kg/d), low-growth (0.58 kg/d), and high-growth (1.16 kg/d) calves differed throughout the experimental period. Blood glucose concentrations in high-growth calves increased with time and were higher than in low- and no-growth calves. Mononuclear and polymorphonuclear leukocyte percentages in peripheral blood were unaffected by growth rate but did change with advancing age. Percentages of CD4(+) T cells increased with age in no-growth and low-growth calves, a characteristic of maturation, but failed to increase in high-growth calves. Growth rate did not affect the percentages of CD45RO(+) (memory) CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, antigen (i.e., ovalbumin)-specific serum IgG concentrations, or antigen (i.e., purified protein derivative)-induced IFN-gamma and nitric oxide secretion by mononuclear cell cultures. Antigen-elicited cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity responses of no-growth calves exceeded responses of low-growth, but not high-growth, calves. In resting- and antigen-stimulated cell cultures, viabilities of CD4(+), CD8(+), and gammadeltaTCR(+) T cells from high-growth calves were lower than those of the same T cell subsets from no-growth and low-growth calves. Alternatively, resting cultures of mononuclear leukocytes from high-growth calves produced more nitric oxide than those from no-growth and low-growth calves. In conclusion, adaptive immune responses were affected minimally by growth rate. The results suggest that protein-energy malnutrition in the absence of weight loss is not detrimental to antigen-specific responses of neonatal vaccinated calves and that a high growth rate does not enhance these responses. The negative effect of a high growth rate on the viability of circulating T cell populations may influence infectious disease resistance of the calf.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center