John Woolliams, K.D. Angus, S.B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifty-five calves aged 105 days of age, of both sexes, belonging to two genetic groups (H, high or L, low) differing in their predicted breeding value (PBV) by 78 kg for fat plus protein yield, were individually penned for 3 weeks with the final 2 weeks on a diet designed to provide energy close to their maintenance requirements. The calves were then cannulated in the jugular vein and blood was sampled every 15 min for 25 h. Following this a growth hormone releasing factor (GRF) preparation was administered on up to four occasions, being one of (per kg live weight) either 0.2 or 0.4 mug GRF (treatments SGRF or DGRF respectively) or 0.2 mug thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). On each occasion blood samples were taken at -15, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 45 min relative to the time of administration and up to four further occasions, one prior to and three within 32 min of administration. Samples were assayed for growth hormone (GH). GH concentration of troughs prior to an episode of GH release was 1-19-fold greater in H compared with L calves with concentrations decreasing to 0.9 of their previous values each h. Trough and peak concentrations had repeatabilities of 0.21 and 0.26 respectively (both P <0.05). There was no association between PBV and either peak concentrations, number of pulses (4.84 per 25 h) or mean GH concentration (13.3 mug/l). GH released was only 1.11-fold greater after DGRF than SGRF. The difference in the regression coefficients for PBV between SGRF and DGRF was small, as it was for the difference between coefficients for the two sexes. The pooled coefficient was 0.00342 loge units per kg (s.e. 0.00157; P<0.05) indicating a 1.31-fold greater response in H than in L calves. The correlation between responses to SGRF and DGRF was 0.482 and the repeatability of SGRF was 0.338; a pooled repeatability was estimated as 0.362 (P <0.01). The regression of GH release on PBV for TPH was 0.00345 (s.e. 0.00330). For all secretagogues, response depended on prior concentrations. It was concluded that GH release following GRF administration was positively related to PBV in dairy calves and response was moderately repeatable; furthermore, although aspects of endogenous secretion may be related to PBV they suffer from measurement difficulties.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Production
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • dairy calves genetic merit somatotropin milk-yield selection prolactin plasma insulin steers cattle cows

Cite this