Influence of conjugated linoleic acids and vitamin E on biochemical, hematological, and immunological variables of dairy cows during the transition period
The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vitamin E as well as their interaction on biochemical and hematological variables and on leukocyte populations and their functionality. We assigned 59 German Holstein cows between the 2nd and 9th lactation to 4 dietary groups in a 2 × 2 factorial design with the factors CLA and vitamin E. Six weeks before calving the cows had a BCS of 3.7 to provoke a higher risk of developing ketosis, which might impair their immune function. Blood samples for analyses were taken on d −42, −14, −7, −3, 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 56, and 70 relative to parturition. Furthermore, peripheral blood mononuclear cells were cultured on d −42, −7, 1, 7, 14, 28, and 70 relative to calving. Most variables were characterized by a high variation between d 7 antepartum and d 7 postpartum. Treatments did not elicit any effect, with the exception of vitamin E, which increased serum urea concentrations and decreased monocyte percentages. Haptoglobin, aspartate-aminotransferase, red blood cell count, leukocyte percentage and populations, as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells were influenced by parity. In conclusion, the impairment of immune function caused by calving was more severe in cows in ≥3rd parity than in younger cows. However, neither vitamin E nor CLA supplementation was successful to stabilize parity or parturition related variance in hematological and immunological traits.