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Lactose in milk replacer can partly be replaced by glucose, fructose, or glycerol without affecting insulin sensitivity in veal calves

Pantophlet, A.J., Gilbert, M.S., van den Borne, J.J.G.C., Gerrits, W.J.J., Roelofsen, H., Priebe, M.G., Vonk, R.J.
Journal of dairy science 2016 v.99 no.4 pp. 3072-3080
Holstein, blood glucose, body weight, excretion, experimental diets, fructose, glucose, glucose tolerance tests, glycerol, homeostasis, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, insulin, insulin resistance, lactose, males, metabolism, milk replacer, prices, risk, urine, veal calves
Calf milk replacer (MR) contains 40 to 50% lactose. Lactose strongly fluctuates in price and alternatives are desired. Also, problems with glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity (i.e., high incidence of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia) have been described for heavy veal calves (body weight >100kg). Replacement of lactose by other dietary substrates can be economically attractive, and may also positively (or negatively) affect the risk of developing problems with glucose metabolism. An experiment was designed to study the effects of replacing one third of the dietary lactose by glucose, fructose, or glycerol on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in veal calves. Forty male Holstein-Friesian (body weight=114±2.4kg; age=97±1.4 d) calves were fed an MR containing 462g of lactose/kg (CON), or an MR in which 150g of lactose/kg of MR was replaced by glucose (GLU), fructose (FRU), or glycerol (GLY). During the first 10d of the trial, all calves received CON. The CON group remained on this diet and the other groups received their experimental diets for a period of 8 wk. Measurements were conducted during the first (baseline) and last week of the trial. A frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was performed to assess insulin sensitivity and 24 h of urine was collected to measure glucose excretion. During the last week of the trial, a bolus of 1.5g of [U-13C] substrates was added to their respective meals and plasma glucose, insulin, and 13C-glucose responses were measured. Insulin sensitivity was low at the start of the trial and remained low [1.2±0.1 and 1.0±0.1 (mU/L)−1 × min−1], and no treatment effect was noted. Glucose excretion was low at the start of the trial (3.4±1.0g/d), but increased in CON and GLU calves (26.9±3.9 and 43.0±10.6g/d) but not in FRU and GLY calves. Postprandial glucose was higher in GLU, lower in FRU, and similar in GLY compared with CON calves. Postprandial insulin was lower in FRU and GLY and similar in GLU compared with CON calves. Postprandial 13C-glucose increased substantially in FRU and GLY calves, indicating that calves are able to partially convert these substrates to glucose. We concluded that replacing one third of lactose in MR by glucose, fructose, or glycerol in MR differentially influences postprandial glucose homeostasis but does not affect insulin sensitivity in veal calves.