The objectives of this study were (1) to characterize Ca levels and polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) function in primiparous and multiparous animals following oral Ca bolus supplementation, and (2) to determine differential responses of boluses containing a lower dose of Ca than traditionally used in primiparous animals on Ca levels and PMN function. Jersey × Holstein crossbred animals (n = 104) were enrolled within 24 h of parturition. All animals were blocked by time relative to calving and randomly assigned to treatment. The Ca boluses were composed of a mixture of Ca chloride, Ca sulfate, and Ca propionate. For objective 1, animals were assigned to control (CON; no Ca supplementation), or a series of 2 Ca boluses given 24 h apart for a total of 50 g of Ca. Objective 2 treatments included control (CON; no Ca supplementation), a series of 2 Ca boluses given 24 h apart containing 50 g of Ca, or a series of 2 Ca boluses given 24 h apart containing 25 g of Ca. Blood samples were collected on d 1 (<24 h), 2, 3, 5, and 7 relative to parturition. Total serum Ca, serum haptoglobin, PMN intracellular Ca, PMN intracellular Ca after stimulation with an environmental Escherichia coli, PMN L-selectin surface expression, and PMN phagocytic and oxidative burst activities were analyzed. For objective 1 a tendency was detected for a treatment difference on basal intracellular PMN Ca and a treatment difference on E. coli-stimulated intracellular PMN Ca. We detected a parity × DIM effect for PMN oxidative burst intensity. However, no other interactions or parity effects on other functional PMN variables were detectable. In primiparous animals, we found a treatment difference for E. coli-stimulated intracellular PMN Ca among animals given 50 g of Ca but no treatment difference on basal intracellular PMN Ca. The 50 g of Ca treatment increased both PMN phagocytosis and oxidative burst intensities. Supplementing animals with 50 g of oral Ca increased intracellular PMN Ca and influenced PMN function.
- polymorphonuclear leukocyte