Short communication: Supplementation of fructo-oligosaccharides does not improve insulin sensitivity in heavy veal calves fed different sources of carbohydrates

Andre J. Pantophlet*, M.S. Gilbert, W.J.J. Gerrits, R.J. Vonk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Heavy veal calves (4-6 mo old) often develop problems with insulin sensitivity. This could lead to metabolic disorders and impaired animal growth performance. Studies in various animal species have shown that the supplementation of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) can improve insulin sensitivity. We therefore studied the effects of scFOS supplementation on insulin sensitivity in heavy veal calves. Forty male Holstein-Friesian calves (BW = 190 ± 2.9 kg; age = 162 ± 1.4 d at the start of the trial) were fed either a control milk replacer (MR) diet or a diet in which one-third of the lactose was replaced by glucose, fructose, or glycerol for 10 wk prior to the start of the trial. At the start of the trial, calves were subjected to a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test to assess whole-body insulin sensitivity (muscle and hepatic insulin sensitivity). Calves within each dietary treatment group were ranked based on their insulin sensitivity value. Half of the calves received scFOS (12 mg/kg of BW) with the MR for 6 wk (supplementation was equally distributed over the insulin sensitivity range). Subsequently, a second frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was conducted to assess the effect of scFOS. In addition, fasting plasma levels of glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol were determined to calculate the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index and triglyceride:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio (fasting indicators of insulin sensitivity). Whole-body insulin sensitivity was low at the start of the trial and remained low in all groups [1.0 ± 0.1 and 0.8 ± 0.1 (mU/L)-1 · min-1 on average, respectively]. Supplementation of scFOS did not improve insulin sensitivity in any of the treatment groups. The quantitative insulin sensitivity check index and the triglyceride:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio also did not differ between scFOS and non-scFOS calves and averaged 0.326 ± 0.003 and 0.088 ± 0.004, respectively, at the end of the trial. We conclude that scFOS supplementation does not improve insulin sensitivity in heavy veal calves regardless of the carbohydrate composition of the MR. This is in contrast to other animals (e.g., dogs and horses), where scFOS supplementation did improve insulin sensitivity. The absence of an effect of scFOS might be related to the dosage or to metabolic differences between ruminants and nonruminants. Increasing evidence indicates that dietary interventions in veal calves have little or no effect on insulin sensitivity, possibly because of low levels of insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9442-9446
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume100
Issue number11
Early online date23 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Fructo-oligosaccharides
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Milk replacer
  • Veal calf

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