Vitamin E supplementation and stress affect tissue alpha-tocopherol content of beef heifers

Author: Written by Nockels, C. F., K. G. Odde, and A. M. Craig

Journal: J Anim Sci 1996 74: 672-677.

Abstract: The effect of stress on tissue alpha-tocopherol was investigated in 16 crossbred heifers fed a corn/corn silage-based diet. For 28 d, eight heifers (379 +/- 10 kg BW) received a dietary supplement of 1,000 IU of dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, whereas the controls (375 +/- 10 kg BW) received no supplemental vitamin E. Tissue samples of plasma, red blood cells, liver, trapezius, and longissimus muscles and subcutaneous fat immediately dorsal to each muscle were taken on d 1 for determination of alpha-tocopherol concentration. On d 2 through 4 each heifer was restricted to 2.61 kg of grass hay and allowed water. On d 5, 6, and 7 no feed or water was given, 100 IU of ACTH and .0024 mg of epinephrine/kg BW were given every 8 h, and biopsies for alpha-tocopherol content were again taken on d 7. The stress reduced (P < .01) mean BW, increased (P < .01) serum cortisol, creatine kinase, and urea. After stress, supplemental vitamin E reduced (P < .13) the increase in creatine kinase relative to that in heifers not supplemented with vitamin E. Stress also increased (P < .04) serum Se in heifers fortified with the vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol content of plasma, red blood cells, liver, and subcutaneous fat dorsal to the trapezius muscle was increased (P < .01) by supplemental vitamin E. The stress treatment reduced (P < .01) alpha-tocopherol content of plasma in those fed the vitamin E and increased it (P < .05) in the nonsupplemented vitamin E-deficient heifers. Stress also decreased red blood cell (P < .01) and liver (P < .05) alpha-tocopherol content in cattle supplemented with vitamin E. Tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations were reduced by stress only when a diet adequate in vitamin E was fed. In addition, in most sampled tissues, stress did not affect alpha-tocopherol concentrations.