Effect of Vitamin E Supplementation on Plasma Antioxidant Vitamins and Immunity Status of Crossbred Cows

  • Chatterjee, P.N. (Dairy Cattle Nutrition Division, National Dairy Research Institute) ;
  • Kaur, Harjit (Dairy Cattle Nutrition Division, National Dairy Research Institute) ;
  • Panda, N. (Dairy Cattle Nutrition Division, National Dairy Research Institute)
  • Received : 2002.11.14
  • Accepted : 2003.07.24
  • Published : 2003.11.01


Twenty crossbred (HF${\times}$Tharparkar) dry pregnant cows were divided into four equal groups. They were supplemented with 1,000 I.U. $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate from 0 (group I), 15 (group II), 30 (group III) and 60 (group IV) days before parturition to 1month of lactation. All the cows were kept under similar feeding and management conditions. Blood plasma samples collected on specific days were analyzed for $\alpha$-tocopherol, retinol, total antioxidant activity (FRAP), immunoglobulin and calcium. Plasma $\alpha$-tocopherol concentration at 30 days prepartum averaged 3.5, 4.1, 4.4 and $3.9{\mu}g/ml$ and decreased by 50.0, 41.4, 34.1 and 33.3 percent on the day of parturition in the four respective groups. After calving, plasma vitamin E started to recover earlier in groups II, III and IV as compared to group I. Mean plasma $\alpha$-tocopherol concentration at 21 days postpartum was significantly higher in groups II, III and IV (2.9, 3.5 and $3.1{\mu}g/ml$) compared to group I ($1.9{\mu}g/ml$) cows. Plasma retinol concentration also showed a substantial decrease in all the groups on the day of calving but recovered to its normal value at 3 weeks postpartum. Plasma total antioxidant activity averaged 901, 895, 859 and $875{\mu}mol/l$ in the four respective groups on 30 days prepartum and decreased on the day of calving in all the groups, but the decrease was less in groups III and IV. Plasma immunoglobulin concentration was higher in group IV, followed by groups III, II and I, respectively, showing better immune status of vitamin E supplemented cows due to less oxidative stress. Supplementation of vitamin E resulted in higher plasma calcium concentration. The data showed that vitamin E supplementation should be started at least 30 days prepartum to reduce oxidative stress in periparturient cows.


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