Intestinal Development in Neonatal Calves: Effects of Glucocorticoids and Dependence on Colostrum Feeding1Sauter S.N.a · Roffler B.a · Philipona C.a · Morel C.a · Romé V.b · Guilloteau P.b · Blum J.W.a · Hammon H.M.a
aDivision of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Institute of Animal Genetics, Nutrition and Housing, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; bUnité Mixte de Recherches sur le Veau et le Porc, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Rennes, France
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The neonatal development of the gastrointestinal tract around parturition in precocious mammals is greatly affected by endocrine factors like glucocorticoids as well as by nutritional factors. We have studied the effects of glucocorticoids and colostrum supply on intestinal morphology, cell proliferation, digestive enzyme activities, and xylose absorption in neonatal calves to test the hypothesis that the intestinal development in neonatal calves is influenced by glucocorticoids, dependent on colostrum feeding. Calves designated GrFD– and GrFD+ were fed a milk-based formula, whereas those designated GrCD– and GrCD+ received colostrum. Dexamethasone (DEXA; 30 µg/kg/day) was injected at feeding times to calves of GrFD+ and GrCD+. On day 3, the D-xylose absorption was measured. The calves were euthanized on day 5 of life. Colostrum feeding increased villus sizes in jejunum and ileum, enhanced xylose absorption capacity, and increased peptidase activities in the ileum. DEXA treatment diminished sizes and cell proliferation rates of Peyer’s patches in the ileum, yet increased proliferation of crypt cells in the ileum of formula-fed calves. DEXA reduced aminopeptidase N activities in the jejunum of formula-fed calves, but increased the peptidase activities mainly of colostrum-fed calves in the ileum. Thus, DEXA effects depended on intestinal segment and on different feeding, resulting in stimulation of crypt cell proliferation in the less mature ileum (of formula-fed calves) and in stimulation of peptidase activities in the more mature ileum (of colostrum-fed calves). We conclude that the effects of DEXA were related to the developmental stage of the neonatal intestine and promoted the intestinal development, depending on the developmental stage.
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