Effect of Nickel Supplementation on Liver and Kidney Function Test and Protein Metabolism in Growing Cattle


This study was conducted to assess the nickel (Ni) content of commonly available feedstuffs and their supplemental effect on biomarkers of liver and kidney function and protein metabolism in growing cattle. Eighteen growing Hariana heifers were randomly assigned to three groups for 90 days and managed on similar feeding regimen except that these three groups were supplemented with 0.0 (Ni0.0), 1.5 (Ni1.5), and 3.0 (Ni3.0) of Ni/kg DMI. Cereal grain by-products, cakes and meals, green fodders, molasses, and compounded concentrate were high in Ni content. Cereal grains, straw, and stovers were moderate to low in Ni content. Dietary supplementation of 3.0 mg of Ni/kg DMI showed linear increase (P < 0.01) in average daily gain. No effects of treatments were observed on haemoglobin concentration, haematocrit value, aspartate aminotransferase level, alanine aminotransferase level, and alkaline phosphatase level. Circulating levels of bilirubin (P < 0.05) and creatinine (P < 0.01) showed dose-dependent increase with supplemental Ni. Heifers receiving diet supplemented with Ni showed higher (P < 0.001) plasma urease activity, plasma levels of total protein, albumin, globulin, and plasma urea nitrogen as compared to non-supplemented heifers. Ni supplementation showed a trend of linear increase (P < 0.001) in plasma Ni concentrations, and Ni level was observed highest in Ni3.0 group. Mean plasma iron (Fe) concentration showed no effect of Ni supplementation. The results of the present study indicate that Ni supplementation seems to improve performance in growing cattle by modulating urease activity and protein metabolism.

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The authors would like to thank the staff of the Department of Animal Nutrition and Instructional Livestock Farm Complex, DUVASU, Mathura, India. The authors also gratefully acknowledge Dr. Mukul Anand and Dr. Mukesh Srivastava for assistance during analysis of heamatological and biochemical attributes.

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Correspondence to Muneendra Kumar.

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Significance Statement

Ni plays important role in ruminal urease activation, and increased urease activity was responsible for increased daily weight gain in growing cattle. Supplementation up to 3.0 ppm Ni/kg DMI does not exert adverse effect on liver and kidney function.

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Singh, A., Kumar, M., Kumar, V. et al. Effect of Nickel Supplementation on Liver and Kidney Function Test and Protein Metabolism in Growing Cattle. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 90, 113–122 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40011-019-01087-9

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  • Growing cattle
  • Nickel
  • Haematology
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Protein metabolism
  • Urease activity