Journal of dairy science

Sodium-butyrate as a growth promoter in milk replacer formula for young calves.

PMID 19233797


In milk-fed calves, the effects of sodium-butyrate (Na-butyrate) to replace flavomycin on growth performance and some mechanisms involved were studied. Pancreatic and intestinal morphology, digestive enzyme activities, plasma gut regulatory peptide concentrations, and expression of their receptors in the gastrointestinal tract were measured. Gastrointestinal tract defense systems were examined by measuring protein levels of 2 heat-shock proteins (HSP27 and HSP70). The calves were randomly allocated into 2 groups fed the same basic diet with flavomycin as an antimicrobial growth promoter or with Na-butyrate (3 g/kg of dry matter). Sodium-butyrate disappeared quickly in the upper gut and was not found in circulating blood. Supplementation with Na-butyrate enhanced growth rate and improved feed conversion into body weight gain compared with the flavomycin group. Supplementation with Na-butyrate was likely associated with an improvement in efficacy of the gastrointestinal tract digestive capacities expressed by enhanced production of digestive enzymes and increased absorptive capacities in the upper small intestine. The effects could have been controlled by insulin-like growth factor-1 but probably not by any of the cholecystokinin/gastrin peptide family. Concentrations of HSP27 and HSP70 were increased in stomach and colon of calves receiving Na-butyrate, thereby assuring protection of cells with intensive metabolism (chaperone function). In conclusion, beneficial effects of Na-butyrate on maturation of gastrointestinal functions were shown in milk-fed calves and may be applied to young mammals of other species.

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32404 Flavomycin, VETRANAL, analytical standard