Immune and production responses of dairy cows to postruminal supplementation with phytonutrients

J. Oh, A. N. Hristov, C. Lee, T. Cassidy, K. Heyler, G. A. Varga, J. Pate, S. Walusimbi, E. Brzezicka, K. Toyokawa, J. Werner, S. S. Donkin, R. Elias, S. Dowd, D. Bravo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effect of phytonutrients (PN) supplied postruminally on nutrient utilization, gut microbial ecology, immune response, and productivity of lactating dairy cows. Eight ruminally cannulated Holstein cows were used in a replicated 4×4 Latin square. Experimental periods lasted 23d, including 14-d washout and 9-d treatment periods. Treatments were control (no PN) and daily doses of 2g/cow of either curcuma oleoresin (curcumin), garlic extract (garlic), or capsicum oleoresin (capsicum). Phytonutrients were pulse-dosed into the abomasum of the cows, through the rumen cannula, 2h after feeding during the last 9d of each experimental period. Dry matter intake was not affected by PN, although it tended to be lower for the garlic treatment compared with the control. Milk yield was decreased (2.2kg/d) by capsicum treatment compared with the control. Feed efficiency, milk composition, milk fat and protein yields, milk N efficiency, and 4.0% fat-corrected milk yield were not affected by treatment. Rumen fermentation variables, apparent total-tract digestibility of nutrients, N excretion with feces and urine, and diversity of fecal bacteria were also not affected by treatment. Phytonutrients had no effect on blood chemistry, but the relative proportion of lymphocytes was increased by the capsicum treatment compared with the control. All PN increased the proportion of total CD4+ cells and total CD4+ cells that co-expressed the activation status signal and CD25 in blood. The percentage of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) that proliferated in response to concanavalin A and viability of PBMC were not affected by treatment. Cytokine production by PBMC was not different between control and PN. Expression of mRNA in liver for key enzymes in gluconeogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, and response to reactive oxygen species were not affected by treatment. No difference was observed due to treatment in the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of blood plasma but, compared with the control, garlic treatment increased 8-isoprostane levels. Overall, the PN used in this study had subtle or no effects on blood cells and blood chemistry, nutrient digestibility, and fecal bacterial diversity, but appeared to have an immune-stimulatory effect by activating and inducing the expansion of CD4 cells in dairy cows. Capsicum treatment decreased milk yield, but this and other effects observed in this study should be interpreted with caution because of the short duration of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7830-7843
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Immune and production responses of dairy cows to postruminal supplementation with phytonutrients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this