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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dietary Boron Alleviates Growth Cartilage Abnormalities Induced by Vitamin D Deficiency in Chicks

Authors
item Keehr, Kay
item Hunt, Curtiss

Submitted to: North Dakota Academy of Science Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: April 25, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The trace element boron, found in fruits and vegetables, has an essential role in higher plants. Previous studies performed in our laboratory suggest that boron may be important for bone development in animals. The objective of this study was to investigate whether boron alleviates some of the adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency on bone. Day-old male chicks were fed a ground corn based diet, adequate in all vitamins and minerals, with the exception of boron and vitamin D. They were divided into two dietary groups, one that received additional vitamin D and one that was kept low enough in vitamin D to cause rickets, a disease characterized by poor bone growth. These groups were divided into subgroups that were fed one of several graded amounts of boron, i.e., from none through to adequate amounts of boron. After 28 days, the bones from all chicks were examined for the presence of rickets. We found that adding more and more boron, up to the amounts usually found in natural diets, progressively reduced, but did not completely eliminate the presence of rickets in the vitamin D deficient chicks. We conclude that dietary boron helps the animal use small amounts of vitamin D more effectively.

Technical Abstract: Previous research has shown that dietary boron affects several physiological indices of vitamin D deficient chicks. The objectives of this study were to attempt to further investigate the interaction between boron and vitamin D as it affects bone histology. Day-old cockerel chicks were fed basal diets adequate in all nutrients with the exception of vitamin D and boron. Five groups were fed diets containing 125 IU vitamin D3/kg (inadequate) and supplemented with boron (as H3BO3) at 0.08, 0.27, 0.64, 1.63, or 4.20 mg B/kg. Three groups were fed diets containing 625 IU vitamin D3/kg (adequate) and supplemented with boron to contain 0.08, 0.64, and 4.20 mg B/kg. After 28 days, right tibiae were dissected and midpoint measurements were made of the articular cartilage, epiphyseal growth plate, and the calcified zone by using image analysis. Boron affected growth cartilage morphology of vitamin D-inadequate, but not vitamin-adequate chicks. Progressive increases in the amount of dietary boron added to the low-boron diets provided overall reduction in the heights of the abnormally thickened growth plate. Concurrently, the boron treatments improved the height of the calcified zone. In other words, dietary boron ameliorated the defects in cartilage maturation and calcification induced by vitamin D deficiency. These findings provide further indirect evidence that dietary boron enhances the utilization of vitamin D. Further research is necessary to establish a possible range of dietary boron that would maximize growth plate maturation.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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