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Environ Qual Saf Suppl. 1976;(5):131-41.

Physiological data including evaluation of immuno-response in relation to anabolic effects on veal calves.


In a series of experiments with a total of 1480 veal calves, different aspects of treating calves with anabolic steroids were examined. The anabolics used were 17beta-estradiol (E), trenbolone acetate (T), progesterone (P), testosterone (Te), C+T, E+P, E+Te and zeranole (Z). The N-retention was estimated by examining the urea: creatinine ratio in single urine specimens during the course of two feeding trials. Increased gain due to the treatment with E (20 mg implanted/calf) + P (200 mg) and Te (200 mg), respectively, E + T (140 mg) or Z (36 mg) was during the whole experimental period. The extra gain, due to anabolics seems to contain even more protein. This conclusion may be supported by the crude protein content of meat samples. The antibody production of a total of 311 male and female calves was investigated after the application of the following steroids: E (20 mg), T (200 mg), T (200 mg), E + T, P (200 mg), Te (200 mg), E + P, E + Te, and Z. Eleven days after the implantation of the steroids the animals were immunized with alumprecipitated human serumalbumin. Antibody-titres were determined by the Antigen-Binding-Capacity Test on day 14 following immunization. In nearly all groups the antibody-titres of female calves exceeded those of male calves on the average by 75%. The immune response of all experimental groups did not differ significantly from that of the corresponding control groups. However, the results indicate that both E + T and its single components E and T exert an immunodepressive effect in male calves. While the humoral antibody formation in the calf appears not to be influenced by anabolic steroids, it cannot be decided presently whether these substances effect cell-mediated immune reactions and/or unspecific mechanisms of resistance. When estradiol (20, 200, and 500 mg) and trenbolone acetate (140, 1400, 3500 mg) alone and in combination were implanted in female calves, blood glucose, GOT, GPT, alkaline phosphatase, LDH, cholesterine and bilirubine; Hb, PVC, quick value; urine density and pH were not affected by treatment. Some criteria of the mineral metabolism (Ca- and P-levels in serum and bone) was not altered by treatment. Trenbolone (1 400 and 3 500 mg), especially with estradiol, caused a decrease of the serum Mg-level and of the Mg-deposition in the bone. It is discussed that Trenbolone affects the dig-metabolism of calves. Some morphological findings are worth mentioning. The weight of uterus was not affected by the different doses of E or T, but a combination E + T led to a surprising weight increase. The proliferation of uterine glandular cells was responsible for the increased uterine size. The lumen of uterus was partially filled with a watery liquid. The reduction of the ovarian weight was accompanied by a diminution of follicular size for all treated calves, most evident for E (200, 500 mg) + T (1400, 3500 mg). A decrease in the number of follicles was also found for these two groups. T (3500 mg) caused an abnormal size of the clitoris and led to a reduction of the size of thymus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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