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Influence of feeding a low-phosphorus diet on leucocyte function in dairy cows

By S.W.F. Eisenberg, L. Ravesloot, A.P. Koets and W. Grünberg


Phosphorus depletion and hypophosphatemia have been described to interfere with immune function in rats and humans. In dairy cows, hypophosphatemia has been associated with muscle weakness and recumbency as well as with intravascular hemolysis resulting from increased osmotic fragility of erythrocytes, but so far, the influence of P depletion and hypophosphatemia on immune function has not been studied. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether P depletion and ensuing hypophosphatemia are associated with impaired granulocyte and lymphocyte function. Eight mid-lactation dairy cows were fed a P-deficient ration (0.2% P/kg of DM) for a period of 4 wk. The depletion phase was preceded by a 2-wk acclimatization period and followed by a 2-wk repletion phase, during which the same ration was supplemented with P to meet or exceed daily requirements. Blood samples were collected at the end of the acclimatization period, after 2 and 4 wk of P depletion, and at the end of the repletion phase. Plasma phosphate concentrations ([Pi]) were determined and white blood cells were counted and isolated. General immune function was investigated by performing a phagocytosis assay with Staphylococcus aureus and a lymphocyte stimulation test (LST) with concanavalin A and pokeweed mitogen. The plasma [Pi] decreased significantly, with the lowest values (mean 0.7 ± 0.2 mmol/L) occurring after 2 wk of depletion, although depletion was continued for another 2 wk. During repletion, plasma [Pi] increased above baseline concentrations. Granulocyte counts changed in parallel with plasma [Pi] over time, decreasing significantly at 2 wk after P depletion and increasing again thereafter. Granulocyte survival after phagocytosis was lowest after 4 wk of P depletion. Phagocytosis activity of surviving granulocytes determined by mean fluorescence intensity was higher, indicating that phagocytosis was not negatively influenced by P depletion. Lymphocyte stimulation showed a similar trend, with a decreasing stimulation index at the end of P depletion, but differences were not statistically significant. Data presented in this study indicate that hypophosphatemia leads to a decrease in granulocyte counts. Chronic P depletion impairs granulocyte survival during phagocytosis but not phagocytosis activity. Lymphocyte function is not influenced by P depletion

Publisher: 'American Dairy Science Association'
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.3168/jds.2014-8180
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Provided by: NARCIS
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