A characterization of health, immunity, and intestinal microbial colonization in neonatal Holstein calves fed pasteurized whole milk and challenged with Mycobacterium avium, subsp. paratuberculosis

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Krueger, Lucas
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Judith R. Stabel
Donald C. Beitz
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Neonatal calves are immune-suppressed and susceptible to infection by Mycobacterium avium, subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). Dietary colostrum and fat-soluble vitamins were hypothesized to enable positive regulation of microbial interactions through immunity. Thus, thirty Holstein calves were randomly assigned to experimental treatments: 1) colostrum deprived (CD), no vitamins; 2) colostrum replacer (CR), no vitamins; 3) CR, vitamin A; 4) CR, vitamin D3; 5) CR, vitamin E; 6) CR, vitamins A, D3, E, and were fed pasteurized whole milk (PWM) for 14 d. Calves were orally inoculated with 108 cfu of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) per dose on d 1 and 3 of age. Blood was collected at birth and on d 1, 7, and 14, and feces were collected on d 7. Calves were euthanized on d 14 for collection of intestinal contents, mucosal scrapings, and tissues. Serum was assayed for immunoglobulin G1, inflammatory acute phase proteins, and metabolites of vitamins A, D3, and E, and peripheral and lymphoid mononuclear leukocytes were characterized by flow cytometry. The immune status and health of calves was related to intestinal microbial community structure.

Non-supplemented calves fed PWM were vitamin D and E deficient, and supplementation with colostrum and vitamins D3 and E decreased the likelihood of scours. Colostrum-deprived calves failed to passively acquire IgG1 and haptoglobin and exhibited decreased peripheral abundance of γδ T cells, which indicated TH1-biased immunity. TH1-like peripheral responses to PHA were observed in vitro, but TH2-like lymphoid responses to MAP in vitro included γδ T cell proliferation. Shedding of MAP was observed at d 7, and MAP colonized the distal small intestine in low abundance. Nutritional treatments affected microbial community structure in a manner consistent with clinical observations of health. Microbial communities of cecum and colon in CD calves were richer than in CR calves, and mucosal communities in the spiral colon of CD calves exhibited dysbiosis by harboring increased Proteobacteria and decreased Bacteroidetes. Disparity between lumen and mucosal microbial communities was related to decreased health. Thus, aberrant regulation of immunity upstream of the large intestine may affect MAP infection and potentiate opportunism in the cecum and colon.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015