Effects of d-α-Tocopherol and Dietary Energy on Growth and Health of Pre-Ruminant Dairy Calves
Newborn Holstein bull calves were fed milk to support low or moderate growth and were supplemented with a complement of vitamins A, D, and E. The objective of the study was to determine the effects of dietary energy and vitamin supplementation on inflammation at the whole-body level. Calves were assigned randomly to one of four treatment groups (low growth, not vitamin supplemented; low growth, vitamin supplemented; moderate growth, not vitamin supplemented; moderate growth, vitamin supplemented) for five weeks. Vitamin supplementation tended to improve average daily gain in moderate-growth calves and significantly increased concentrations of retinol, 25-(OH)-vitamin D, and α-tocopherol in plasma in supplemented groups. Moderate growth calves exhibited lower concentrations of α-tocopherol in plasma and higher concentrations of serum haptoglobin, which is a protein associated with chronic inflammation. All calves exhibited elevated concentrations of the more acute indicator of inflammation, serum amyloid A, during weeks 1-3. These results indicate potential roles for vitamins A, D, and E in moderation of pro-inflammatory responses early in life.