This study evaluated the effects of rice whole crop silage (RWCS) on growth, plasma levels of vitamin A, β-carotene, vitamin E and IGF-1, and expression of genes involved in muscle protein degradation and synthesis in Japanese Black calves. Eleven calves were divided into RWCS (fed RWCS ad libitum and concentrate, n = 5) and control groups (fed hay ad libitum and concentrate, n = 6). Final body weight and dairy gain were significantly larger in the RWCS group compared with the control group. Plasma β-carotene and vitamin E concentrations were significantly higher in the RWCS group compared with control group. Although plasma vitamin E concentration in the RWCS group significantly increased from 4 to 9 months of age, it did not increase in the control group. At 6 months of age in the RWCS group, ubiquitin B (p < 0.05) and calpain 1 (p = 0.097) mRNA expression were lower than control group, but they were not different between groups at 9 months of age. These results indicate that RWCS increases plasma β-carotene level and promotes muscle growth because of a decrease in the rate of protein degradation, but the effect is lost with the increase in plasma vitamin E level.
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