Chinese Herbal Medicine Contributes to the Gastrointestinal Tract Health in the Calves
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 If you have chance to see a newborn animal, such as calves, you must fall in love with them immediately. But the newborn animals suffered from the threat of high morbidity and high mortality after birth. It’s reported that the calf mortality was 8.4%, and gastrointestinal dysfunction is considered to be the main reasons leading to the high mortality.
      Acanthopanax senticosus (AS), a tonic and sedative Chinese herbal medicine, is well known to be highly effective in treating various conditions, including stress-induced pathophysiologic changes and inflammation. AS contains acanthosides, triterpenic saponin, polysaccharide, flavone, senticoside, organic acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Saponin may be responsible for the biological activities of AS.
       Researchers in the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISA) employ micro-shear technology, histotome, light microscope, binocular microscope, vernier caliper and statistical techniques to the thickness of the digestive tract wall, villus length, crypt depth, villus diameter and villus density in the calves.
In the present study, rumen the thickness of the rumen wall, rumen crypt depth and rumen papillae diameter clearly demonstrated a significant relationship between the supplementation of AS and the control group, and the inter correlation apparently depended largely on the differences between the control treatment and AS treatments, rather than on differences among or inter individual differences within the AS supplemental treatments.
      Calves supplemented with micro-powder had the best crypt depth and papillae diameter in the rumen and villus diameter in the duodenum, which resulted from there are more effective components such as Acanthopanax senticosus saponin B and E, and more active ingredients such as polysaccharides and flavones in micro-powder compared with coarse powder and micro-powder, and they are all active materials contributing to the growth of the organism, indicating calves supplemented with micro-powder could better promote ruminal and intestinal development, which would increase absorption area and improve nutrient absorption ability.
       In the present study, the diameter of intestine villus in the duodenum was significantly smaller and rumen papillae length tended to be longer for AS supplementation treatments compared with the control group in the rumen, and the length of intestine villi of AS supplementation treatments was significantly smaller compared with the control group in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum , which means the surface area of the AS supplementation treatment groups were greater than that of control group, it could speculate that AS supplementation could effectively promote the absorptive capacity of gastrointestine tract and promote the growth of calves.
       The research received the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.31372342, No. 31320103917), Ministry of Science and Technology of the People`s Republic of China (No. 2012BAD14B17), Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KFJ-EW-STS-071), Hunan Provincial Science and Technology Department (2013TF3006), and Jilin Provincial Science and Technology Department(20140203013NY).
      The study entitled “Effects of dietary supplementation of Acanthopanax senticosus on gastrointestinal tract development in calves” has been published in the February issue of Animal science Journal, details could be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/asj.12764/abstract;jsessionid=DD7047AB7560B44880735E31088C8CA9.f03t04 

Contact: TAN Zhiliang
       E-mail: zltan@isa.ac.cn
       Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences