Cow-level association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis antibody seropositivity: A pilot study

U. S. Sorge, T. Molitor, J. Linn, D. Gallaher, S. W. Wells

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Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with various human diseases. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the cow-level association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration and Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) seropositivity of dairy cows, adjusting for diet, breed, hair coat color, stage of lactation, reproductive status, and cow age. The sera of 80 MAP antibody ELISA-positive and 80 test-negative herd mates from 5 Minnesota dairy herds were analyzed for 25(OH)D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D]. The cows' age, production records, and hair coat color were recorded. Additionally, feed samples were obtained and analyzed for vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 content. A linear mixed model was used to identify potential predictors for serum 25(OH)D concentration, accounting for herd of origin. The majority of rations analyzed had over 22,000IU of vitamin D/day (maximum: 52,000IU/d) and the study cows' average serum 25(OH)D concentration was 62.5±13.8ng/mL. Serum ELISA-positive cows had, on average, 5.3ng/mL lower 25(OH)D serum levels than test-negative herd mates. The reproductive status of cows was also associated with the 25(OH)D levels, with fresh cows having the lowest serum concentration. In this cross-sectional study, a temporal or causal association between MAP antibody ELISA status and serum 25(OH)D concentration could not be evaluated. In addition, the high levels of vitamin D in the rations of participating farms and the average 25(OH)D serum concentration suggest that additional supplementation with vitamin D in the ration is likely to be ineffective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1037
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013



  • Cow
  • Johne's disease
  • Paratuberculosis
  • Vitamin D

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