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High and variable copper status identified among dairy herds in the Waikato region by concentrations of Cu in liver sourced from biopsies and cull cows

Authors: Grace ND, Knowles SO, Hittmann AR
Publication: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 130-136, Jun 2010
Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Animal type: Cattle
Subject Terms: Biochemistry/chemistry, Breed/breeding, Clinical pathology, Copper, Diagnostic procedures, Liver/hepatic disease, Toxicology, Trace elements, Treatment/therapy
Article class: Scientific Article

AIM: To quantify the capacity of the liver to respond to a Cu-deficient diet and various forms of Cu supplementation in dairy cows with high Cu status.
METHODS: Sixty non-pregnant, non lactating mixed-age Friesian dairy cows were fed baled silage for 116 days, containing 5.8 mg Cu/kg dry matter (DM), that provided an inadequate Cu intake. They were either unsupplemented (Control); or treated thrice weekly orally with solutions containing the equivalent of 150 mg Cu/day as copper sulphate pentahydrate (CS), copper amino chelate (CAC), or copper glycinate (CG); 16 g Cu as CuO wire particles, administered in an intra-ruminal bolus on Day 0; or 100 mg Cu as calcium copper edetate, administered by S/C injection on Days 0 and 58. On Days –5, 14, 28, 58, 86 and 116, liver biopsies and blood samples were obtained for determination of Cu.
RESULTS: Mean initial concentrations of Cu in liver for all groups was 827 (SE 42) μmol/kg fresh tissue. In control cows, this decreased to 552 μmol/kg on Day 116, and averaged 670 μmol/kg over the length of the trial. Oral forms of Cu supplementation increased overall mean concentrations in liver to 960 (SE 79), 1,050 (SE 81) and 1,100 (SE 84) μmol/kg for CS, CAC and CG, respectively, but there was no difference between form of supplement. Mean concentrations were significantly increased by bolus treatment, but not by injection. Concentrations of Cu in serum in all groups decreased from 12.1 (SE 0.3) to 10.4 (SE 0.6) μmol/L by Day 116, with no differences due to treatments. The initial concentration of Cu in liver significantly affected the rate of accumulation of Cu among cows supplemented orally. In cows with an initial concentration <1,100 μmol/kg, the average increase was 4.1 μmol/kg fresh tissue/day, whereas rates were variable, even negative, when initial concentrations were >1,100 μmol/kg. Release of Cu over 116 days in cows given the bolus was calculated to be equivalent to an oral intake of CS of 106 mg Cu/day.
CONCLUSIONS: In dairy cows with a high Cu status fed a Cu-deficient diet, responses to supplementation with two chelated forms of Cu administrated orally were similar to those due to CS. Copper as CuO was about 77% as effective as oral supplementation with chemically similar inorganic Cu. Initial concentrations of Cu in liver influenced the rate of accumulation following oral supplementation.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Changes in concentrations of Cu in liver were readily observed following oral supplementation over a wide range of initial concentrations, whereas these changes could not be detected in serum. The liver is thus a good index of the Cu status of dairy cows.
KEY WORDS: Dairy cows, liver Cu, serum Cu, copper sulphate, copper glycinate, copper amino chelate, copper oxide wire particles, copper injection

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