Organic trace mineral (ORG) supplementation to dairy cows in substitution of sulfate (INO) sources has been associated with improvement in immune function during stressful states such as the peripartal period. However, the effect of supplemental ORG during pregnancy on the neonatal calf is unknown. Therefore, our aim was to investigate the effects of ORG supplementation during late pregnancy on the immune system and growth of the neonatal calf. Of specific interest was the evaluation of inflammation-related microRNA (miRNA) and target gene expression in blood neutrophils as indicators of possible nutritional programming. Forty multiparous cows were supplemented for 30 d prepartum with 40 mg/kg of Zn, 20 mg/kg of Mn, 5 mg/kg of Cu, and 1 mg/kg of Co from either organic (ORG) or sulfate (INO) sources (total diet contained supplemental 75 mg/kg of Zn, 65 mg/kg of Mn, 11 mg/kg of Cu, and 1 mg/kg of Co, and additional Zn, Mn, and Co provided by sulfates), and a subset of calves (n = 8/treatment) was used for blood immunometabolic marker and polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) gene and miRNA expression analyses. Samples were collected at birth (before colostrum feeding), 1 d (24 h after colostrum intake), and 7 and 21 d of age. Data were analyzed as a factorial design with the PROC MIXED procedure of SAS. No differences were detected in BW, but maternal ORG tended to increase calf withers height. Calves from INO-fed cows had greater concentrations of blood glucose, GOT, paraoxonase, myeloperoxidase, and reactive oxygen metabolites. Antioxidant capacity also was greater in INO calves. The PMNL expression of toll-like receptor pathway genes indicated a pro-inflammatory state in INO calves, with greater expression of the inflammatory mediators MYD88, IRAK1, TRAF6, NFKB, and NFKBIA. The lower expression of miR-155 and miR-125b in ORG calves indicated the potential for maternal organic trace minerals in regulating the PMNL inflammatory response at least via alterations in mRNA and miRNA expression. Overall, these results indicate that maternal nutrition with organic trace minerals could alter the neonatal innate immune response at least in part via changes in gene and miRNA expression. Further studies involving inflammatory challenges during the neonatal period should be performed to determine the functional benefit of maternal organic trace minerals on the neonatal immune response.
- Maternal consumption
- oxidative stress