Submitted to: International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/4/2008
Publication Date: 4/1/2009
Citation: Waters, W.R., Nonnecke, B.J., Gibbs, S.E., Yabsley, M.J., Schmitt, S.M., Cosgrove, M.K., Palmer, M.V., Thacker, T.C., Olsen, S.C., Horst, R.L., Reinhardt, T.A. 2009. Serum 25-Hydroxvitamin D Concentrations in Captive and Free-Ranging, White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 79(3):180-187.
Interpretive Summary: White-tailed deer are wildlife reservoirs of bovine tuberculosis (TB) within the United States. The presence of this reservoir host seriously hinders ongoing efforts to eradicate this disease from cattle. Captive deer are included in the Uniform Methods and Regulations for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis within the United States. In the past, tuberculosis has been spread from infected captive deer to cattle and bison. To develop improved diagnostic techniques and vaccines for TB it is critical to first define host responses and the impacts of immune modulating vitamins associated with their response to infection. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulating compound, affecting the response to infection and/or vaccination. In this study, we evaluated the concentration of the circulating form of the vitamin in samples from captive and free-ranging white-tailed deer. We determined the effects of season, gender, and age on the concentrations of vitamin D. These findings should prove beneficial to the characterization of host factors influencing the response by white-tailed deer to TB infection and/or vaccination.
Technical Abstract: ABSTRACT: Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were determined for free-ranging and captive white-tailed deer (WTD, Odocoileus virginianus). Effects of gender, season, and age on 25(OH)D concentrations were determined as well as comparisons to concentrations in serum from captive reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and elk (Cervus elaphus subsp. nelsoni). Seasonal variations in 25(OH)D concentrations were detected for both captive and free-ranging WTD with greatest concentrations detected in August / September (~ 25 ng/ml) and lowest concentrations in February (~ 5 – 10 ng/ml). Free-ranging WTD < 1 year of age had lower 25(OH)D concentrations (~ 6 ng/ml) than did free-ranging WTD > 1 year of age (~ 12 ng/ml). For captive WTD fawns, 25(OH)D concentrations increased from 1 to 9 days of age (exceeding 100 ng/ml) and then steadily declined to ~ 10 ng/ml by 3 months of age. In general, differences in 25(OH)D concentrations based on gender were not detected. The only exception were the lower 25(OH)D concentrations in samples collected in August/September from male free-ranging WTD (~17.9 ng/ml) as compared to females (~24.4 ng/ml). 25(OH)D concentrations in captive WTD did not differ from that of captive reindeer; yet, 25(OH)D concentrations were lower in WTD than in captive elk. These findings demonstrate fluctuations in vitamin D concentrations in WTD, particularly during winter months and with fawns < 1 year of age. Additional research is necessary to determine if low serum 25(OH)D concentrations during the winter or at an early age are associated with increased rates of infectious and metabolic disease.