Effect of maternal supplementation with essential fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid on metabolic and endocrine development in neonatal calves.

Uken, K L; Vogel, L; Gnott, M; Görs, S; Schäff, C T; Tuchscherer, A; Hoeflich, A; Weitzel, J M; Kanitz, E; Tröscher, A; Sauerwein, H; Zitnan, R; Bruckmaier, R M; Gross, J J; Liermann, W; Hammon, H M (2021). Effect of maternal supplementation with essential fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid on metabolic and endocrine development in neonatal calves. Journal of dairy science, 104(6), pp. 7295-7314. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2020-20039

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We tested the hypothesis that the maternal supply of essential fatty acids (EFA), especially α-linolenic acid, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), affects glucose metabolism, the endocrine regulation of energy metabolism and growth, and the intestinal development of neonatal calves. We studied calves from dams that received an abomasal infusion of 76 g/d coconut oil (CTRL; n = 9), 78 g/d linseed oil and 4 g/d safflower oil (EFA; n = 9), 38 g/d Lutalin (BASF SE) containing 27% cis-9,trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12 CLA (CLA; n = 9), or a combination of EFA and CLA (EFA+CLA; n = 11) during the last 63 d of gestation and early lactation. Calves received colostrum and transition milk from their own dam for the first 5 d of life. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, leptin, and adiponectin concentrations were measured in milk. Blood samples were taken before first colostrum intake, 24 h after birth, and from d 3 to 5 of life before morning feeding to measure metabolic and endocrine traits in plasma. On d 3 of life, energy expenditure was evaluated by a bolus injection of NaH13CO3 and determination of CO2 appearance rate. On d 4, additional blood samples were taken to evaluate glucose first-pass uptake and 13CO2 enrichment after [13C6]-glucose feeding and intravenous [6,6-2H2]-glucose bolus injection, as well as postprandial changes in glucose, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), insulin, and glucagon. On d 5, calves were killed 2 h after feeding and samples of small intestinal mucosa were taken for histomorphometric measurements. The concentrations of IGF-I, adiponectin, and leptin in milk decreased during early lactation in all groups, and the concentrations of leptin in first colostrum was higher in EFA than in CTRL cows. Plasma glucose concentration before first colostrum intake was higher in EFA calves than in non-EFA calves and was lower in CLA calves than in non-CLA calves. Plasma IGF-I concentration was higher on d 1 before colostrum intake in EFA calves than in EFA+CLA calves and indicated an overall CLA effect, with lower plasma IGF-I in CLA than in non-CLA calves. Postprandial NEFA concentration was lowest in EFA and CLA calves. The postprandial rise in plasma insulin was higher in EFA than in non-EFA calves. Plasma adiponectin concentration increased from d 1 to d 2 in all groups and was higher on d 3 in CLA than in non-CLA calves. Plasma leptin concentration was higher on d 4 and 5 in EFA than in non-EFA calves. Maternal fatty acid treatment did not affect energy expenditure and first-pass glucose uptake, but glucose uptake on d 4 was faster in EFA than in non-EFA calves. Crypt depth was lower, and the ratio of villus height to crypt depth was higher in the ilea of CLA than non-CLA calves. Elevated plasma glucose and IGF-I in EFA calves immediately after birth may indicate an improved energetic status in calves when dams are supplemented with EFA. Maternal EFA and CLA supplementation influenced postprandial metabolic changes and affected factors related to the neonatal insulin response.

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 and Gross, Josef Johann


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




American Dairy Science Association




Josef Johann Gross

Date Deposited:

20 May 2021 13:48

Last Modified:

23 May 2021 01:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

calf conjugated linoleic acid essential fatty acids neonatal energy metabolism





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