Metabolic Responses of Periparturient Holstein Cows and Heifers Supplemented with Chromium Picolinate

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© 2004 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists Thirty-four Holstein cows, 18 primiparous and 16 multiparous, were used to determine the effects of supplemental Cr on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism during the transition period. From approximately 3 wk prior to anticipated calving date until parturition, Cr-treated cows were given 51 mg Cr picolinate via a gelatin capsule bolus three times weekly, equivalent to an average daily intake of approximately 2 ppm Cr. Control cows were given empty gelatin capsules. All cows were fed total mixed rations, with one ration fed to dry cows, a second to lactating cows for wk 1 of postpartum (transition), and a third to lactating cows thereafter. Blood samples were collected via jugular venipuncture at 1, 2, and 3 wk prior to anticipated calving date as well as immediately following calving, 3 d post calving, and 1, 2, and 3 wk post calving. Samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin, and nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA). Within 1 wk prior to calving, a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was performed, and blood plasma samples were analyzed for concentrations of glucose and insulin. Plasma glucose response to the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was evaluated by calculating the half-life and fractional turnover rate for the period from 2 to 19 min after glucose infusion. Supplemental Cr did not affect circulating concentrations of glucose, insulin, or NEFA (P>0.1). Plasma NEFA concentrations were greater in primiparous cows (P<0.01) throughout the experiment, with the difference being most apparent during the 3 wk postpartum. Glucose concentrations reached a greater peak at time of calving in primiparous cows than in multiparous cows (P=0.07). There was an increase in glucose clearance rate (P=0.06) and a trend toward decreased glucose half-life (P<0.1) in primiparous cows supplemented with Cr. Insulin peak concentrations were unaffected by treatment or parity (P>0.1). Data suggest that Cr supplementation may alter carbohydrate metabolism in primiparous cows during the transition period.

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Professional Animal Scientist

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