Studies in young animals have shown an association between vitamin deficiencies and increased risk of infectious disease; however, there is a paucity of information regarding the effect of acute infection on the vitamin status of the vitamin-replete neonate. To characterize the effects of acute infection on vitamin D and E status of the neonate, 6 vitamin-replete preruminant Holstein bull calves were experimentally infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV; strain BVDV2-1373). Six mock-inoculated calves served as controls. Sustained pyrexia, leukopenia, and asynchronous increases in serum haptoglobin and serum amyloid A characterized the response of calves to infection with BVDV. Infection was also associated with increased serum IFN-γ, IL-2, and IL-6 concentrations. During the last 8 d of the 14-d postinoculation period, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and α-tocopherol concentrations in infected calves decreased by 51 and 82%, respectively. The observed inverse association between vitamin D and E status and serum amyloid A in infected calves suggests that the infection-induced acute phase response contributed to the reduced vitamin status of these animals. Additional studies are necessary to determine if the negative effect of infection on status are unique to this specific infection model or is representative of preruminant calf's response to acute infection. Studies are also needed to characterize mechanisms underlying infection-related changes in vitamin D and E status and to determine whether additional vitamin D or E supplementation during an acute infection diminishes disease severity and duration in the young animal.
Keywords: acute phase response; bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV); neonatal vitamin D status; preruminant calf; vitamin E status and infection.
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