Management effects on colostrogenesis in small ruminants: a review

Castro, N.; Capote, J.; Bruckmaier, R.M.; Arguello, A. (2011). Management effects on colostrogenesis in small ruminants: a review. Journal of applied animal research, 39(2), pp. 85-93. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis 10.1080/09712119.2011.581625

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Colostrum feeding in small ruminants is crucial during the first hours after birth due to the lack of Ig transfer during pregnancy via the placenta. In addition the immature immune system of the neonate is slow to produce its own Ig during the first weeks of life. Colostrogenesis, i.e. the transfer of Ig from blood into mammary secretions, starts several weeks prepartum. In goat plasma, immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration decreases by around 38% from the third month of gestation until partum, which coincides with the dry period. Thus, management during the dry period is crucial for the course of colostrogenesis. The colostrum synthesis is determined by the nutrition during the prepartum period, but the transfer of Ig is obviously independent of nutritional influences. The administration of conjugated linoleic acid during the dry period to dairy goats causes a less pronounced decrease of blood plasma IgG concentration (6%) but it did not change colostral IgG levels. In cattle, IgG1 is transported from blood into colostrum by an IgG1 specific receptor located on the surface of alveolar epithelial cells during colostrogenesis, and this is most likely similar in small ruminants. Via inactivation of this receptor, the Ig transfer is downregulated by increasing prolactin (PRL) during lactogenesis. It was recently observed in goats treated with PGF2 alpha, in order to induce parturition, lower colostrum IgG concentrations occurred concomitantly with an earlier increase of plasma PRL as compared to untreated animals. The effect of litter size and number of lactations on colostral IgG concentration in small ruminants has not been made fully clear until now most likely due to the different breeds used in the published studies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Bruckmaier, Rupert




Taylor & Francis




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:31

Last Modified:

21 Jan 2014 15:04

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 218434)

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