The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of vaccination and beta-carotene supplementation on blood oxidative stress and antibody response in calves. Thirty Japanese Black calves were randomly assigned to two groups. Fifteen calves received 20 mg of beta-carotene supplemented into their daily provided rations from 2 to 8 weeks of age (BC group), and the other 15 calves did not receive the daily beta-carotene supplement (control group). All calves received a commercially available modified live bovine respiratory syncytial (RS) virus vaccine at 4 and 8 weeks of age. Blood samples were taken at 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks of age. At 4 weeks of age, the concentration of reactive oxygen metabolites within serum were significantly lower in the BC group than the concentrations measured in the control group. Also at 4 weeks of age, the concentration of biological antioxidant capacity within serum was significantly higher in the BC group than the concentrations measured in the control group. Both groups showed a gradual decrease of antibody titers to live bovine RS virus in the samples taken from 2 to 12 weeks of age. These results confirmed that beta-carotene supplementation decreased oxidative stress. However, beta-carotene supplementation did not affect the antibody response to live bovine RS virus vaccination, perhaps due to the presence of the maternal antibody.
Keywords: Japanese Black calf; antibody titer; beta-carotene; bovine respiratory syncytial virus; oxidative stress; vaccination.