Effects of feed restriction and supplementary folic acid and vitamin B12 on immune cell functions and blood cell populations in dairy cows
Vanacker, N., Girard, C.L., Blouin, R., Lacasse, P. (2020). Effects of feed restriction and supplementary folic acid and vitamin B12 on immune cell functions and blood cell populations in dairy cows. Animal, [online] 14(2), 339-345. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731119002301
Plain language summary
Cows undergoing a negative energy balance often experience a state of immunosuppression and are at greater risk of infectious diseases. In the present experiment, we tested the hypothesis that a supplement decreases the metabolic and immunological disturbances induced by feed restriction. The results indicate that the metabolic and immunological disturbances induced by negative energy balance cannot be prevented by folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation.
Cows undergoing a negative energy balance (NEB) often experience a state of immunosuppression and are at greater risk of infectious diseases. The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of a folic acid and vitamin B12 supplement and feed restriction on several immune parameters. Sixteen cows at 45 ± 3 days in milk were assigned to 8 blocks of 2 cows each according to each cow's milk production in the previous week, and within each block, the cows randomly received weekly intramuscular injections of either saline or 320 mg of folic acid and 10 mg of vitamin B12 for 5 weeks. During week 5, the cows were fed 75% of their ad libitum intake for 4 days. Blood samples were taken before the beginning of the experiment, just before feed restriction and after 3 days of feed restriction, in order to evaluate blood cell populations, the phagocytosis capacity and oxidative burst of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), the proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and β-hydroxybutyrate. The vitamin supplement did not affect any of the tested variables except milk fat and lactose content. Feed restriction reduced milk production and increased the concentration of NEFAs. Feed restriction did not affect blood cell populations but did reduce the percentage of PMN positive for oxidative burst after stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. The proliferation of PBMCs was reduced when the cell culture medium was supplemented with sera collected during the feed restriction. In conclusion, feed restriction affected the functions of PMN and PBMC and this effect was not prevented by the folic acid and vitamin B12 supplement. These results support the hypothesis that the greater risk of infectious diseases in cows experiencing a NEB is related to impaired immune cell functions by high circulating concentration of NEFAs.