Adoptively transferred maternal colostral cells impact immune status and development in dairy calves
Neal, Stephanie Mary
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Mortality and decreased weight gain resulting from infection and disease in dairy calves is a problem within the dairy industry. Colostrum is the sole source of maternal immunity for the calf, having a substantial impact on health and survival. To date, colostrum quality is determined by concentration of antibodies. Colostrum also contains proteins and cells, which may enhance immune development in the neonate. Our goals were to determine the impact of colostral immune cells on (1) immune status during the first month of life and (2) immune development over time. To determine the impact of adoptively transferred colostral immune cells, calves were fed either whole colostrum (WC) or cell-free colostrum (CFC) at birth. During the first month of life, calves fed CFC had decreased numbers of CD4+ T cells when compared to WC-fed calves. However, CFC-fed calves had a greater percentage of monocytes during the first month of life. To determine the influence of colostral immune cells on immune development, cellular blood parameters were measured in response to two series of vaccinations (A and B). After vaccination series A, CFC-fed calves had decreased numbers of B cells when compared to WC-fed calves. After vaccination series B, CFC-fed calves had decreased levels of interleukin-2 gene expression and numbers of CD4+ and gamma delta T cells when compared to WC-fed calves. This study demonstrates that colostral immune cells impact immune status and development in dairy calves.
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