Assessing essentiality of nickel in growing Hariana heifers by determining its effect on performance, nitrogen and mineral metabolism, urease activity, and endocrine biomarkers

Abstract views: 125 / PDF downloads: 126 / PDF downloads: 22


  • MUNEENDRA KUMAR DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • ANUJ SINGH DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • VINOD KUMAR DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • RAJU KUSHWAHA DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • SHALINI VASWANI DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • AVINASH KUMAR DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • PANKAJ KUMAR SHUKLA DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India
  • YAJUVENDRA SINGH DUVASU, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281 001 India


Endocrine biomarker, Heifer, Metabolism, Nickel, Nutrients utilization, Performance


The objective of this study was to determine the effect of nickel (Ni) on growth performance, nutrient utilization, urease activity, and endocrine variables in growing cattle. Growing Hariana heifers (18) were randomly assigned into three groups (n=6), i.e. groups either without Ni supplementation (Ni0.0; control) or supplemented with 1.5 mg of Ni/kg DM (Ni1.5), and 3.0 mg of Ni/kg DM (Ni3.0). The experiment lasted for 90 days. Heifers supplemented with Ni showed higher nutrient intake and average daily gain (ADG) than control group. The nutrient digestibility was not affected by treatment, while the Ni supplemented animals showed higher intake, excretion, and nitrogen balance. The urease activity was comparable and higher in the Ni1.5 and Ni3.0 groups than in the control group. There was no effect of treatment on the metabolism of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and chromium (Cr). However, iron (Fe) retention showed a negative association with Ni levels. Plasma cortisol concentration was lower while the insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and tetraiodothyronine (T4) were higher in the Ni3.0 group compared to the Ni0.0 group, with Ni1.5 being intermediate. The plasma concentrations of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were not affected by dietary treatment. Plasma Ni concentration showed a dose dependent increase whereas, plasma levels of other minerals were not affected by treatment. In conclusion, dietary Ni supplementation in growing Hariana heifers improves performance and nutrient utilization by modulating urease activity and endocrine growth biomarkers.


Download data is not yet available.


Afridi H I, Kazi T G and Kazi N. 2001. Evaluation of status of cadmium, lead, and nickel levels in biological samples of normal and night blindness children of age groups 3-7 and 8-12 years. Biological Trace Element Research 142(3): 350–61. DOI:

Alverez C, Blade C and Catana J. 1993. Alpha-2 adrenergic blockage prevents hyperglycemia and hepatic glutathione depletion in nickel-injected rats. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 121(1): 112–17. DOI:

Anke M, Angelow L, Glei M, Muller M and Illing H. 1995a. The biological importance of nickel in the food chain. Fresenius Journal of Analytical Chemistry 352: 92–96. DOI:

Anke M, Henning A, Grun M, Partschefeld M, Groppel B and Ludkf H. 1977. Nickel, an essential trace element. I. The supply of nickel as affecting the live weight gains, food consumption and body composition of growing pigs and goats. Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde 27: 25–34. DOI:

Anke M, Muller M, Trupschuch A and Muller R. 2002. Intake and effect of cadmium, chromium and nickel in humans. Journal of Commodity Science 41(1): 41–63.

AOAC. 2005. Official Methods of Analysis, 18th ed. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA, USA.

AOCS 2011. Urease activity, 6th ed. Official methods and recommended practices of the American Oil Chemist Society, Second Printing, Urbana, USA.

Bersenyi A. 2003. ‘Study of toxic metals (Cd, Pb, Hg and Ni) in rabbits and broiler chickens.’ D.V.M. Thesis, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent Istvan University, Budapest, Hungary.

Candahia B, Laffon B, Porta M, Lafuent A, Cabaleiro T, Lopez T, Caride A, Pumarega J, Romero A, Pasaro E and Mendez J. 2008. Relationship between blood concentrations of heavy metals and cytogenetic and endocrine parameters among subjects involved in cleaning coastal areas affected by the ‘Prestige’ tanker oil spill. Chemosphere 71: 447–55. DOI:

Chen S C H, Siiirazi M R S and Orr R A. 1983. Effect of nickel deficiency on circulating thyroid hormone concentrations. Nutrition Research 3: 91–106. DOI:

Chopra I J, Chopra U, Smith S R, Reza M and Solomon D H. 1975. Reciprocal changes in serum concentration of 3,3’,5’-triiodothyronine (reverse T3) and 3,3’5-triiodothyronine (T3) in systemic illness. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 41: 1043–49. DOI:

Dormer R L, Kerbey A L, McPherson M, Manley S, Ashcroft S J H, Schofield J G and Randle P J. 1973. The effect of nickel on secretory systems: Studies on the release of amylase, insulin and growth hormone. Journal of Biochemistry 140: 135–40. DOI:

Fishbein W N, Smith M J, Nagarajan K and Sarzi W. 1976. The first natural nickel metalloenzyme: Urease. Federation Proceedings 35: 1680.

Goshtashpour-parsi B G, Ely D G, Boling J A, Anderson N E and Amos H E. 1974. Nitrogen components reaching the omasum and abomasum of lambs fed two nitrogen I levels. Journal of Animal Science 39(5): 643–47. DOI:

Hailemariam S, Zhao S, He Y and Wang J. 2021. Urea transport and hydrolysis in the rumen: A review. Animal Nutrition 7(4): 989–96. DOI:

Kasprzak K S, Sunderman Jr F W and Salnikow K. 2003. Nickel carcinogenesis. Mutation Research 533(1-2): 67–97. DOI:

Lorenson M Y, Robson D L and Jacobs L S. 1983. Divalent cation inhibition of hormone release from isolated adenohypophysial secretory granules. Journal of Biological Chemistry 258: 8618–22. DOI:

Mazzei L, Musiani F and Ciurli S. 2020. The structure-based reaction mechanism of urease, a nickel dependent enzyme: Tale of a long debate. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry 25: 829–45. DOI:

McGrath J, Duval S M, Luis F M, Kindermann T M, Stemmler R T, de Gouvea V N, Acedo T S, Immig I, Williams S N and Celi P. 2018. Nutritional strategies in ruminants: A lifetime approach. Veterinary Science Research Journal 116: 28–39. DOI:

Mercer S W and Trayhurn P. 1987. Effect of high fat diets on energy balance and thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue of lean and genetically obese ob/ob mice. Journal of Nutrition 117: 2147–53. DOI:

Milne J, Whitelaw F, Price J and Shand W. 1990. The effect of supplementary nickel on urea metabolism in sheep given a low protein diet. Animal Science Journal 50(3): 507–12. DOI:

Nielsen F H, Shuler T R, Meleod T G and Zimmerman T J. 1984. Nickel influences iron metabolism through physiologic, pharmacologic and toxicologic mechanisms in rats. Journal of Nutrition 114: 1280–88. DOI:

Nielsen F H. 1987. Nickel, pp. 245-273. Trace Elements in Human Animal Nutrition. (Ed.) Mertz W. California: Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, USA. DOI:

Nielsen F H. 2000. Importance of making dietary recommendations for elements designated as nutritionally beneficial, pharmacologically beneficial, or conditionally essential. Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine 13: 113–29. DOI:<113::AID-JTRA13>3.0.CO;2-D

NRC. 2001. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, 2nd revised ed. National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Oscar T P, Spears J W and Shih J C. 1987. Performance, methanogenesis and nitrogen metabolism of finishing steers fed monensin and nickel. Journal of Animal Science 64(3): 887–96. DOI:

Patra A K and Aschenbach J R. 2018. Ureases in the gastrointestinal tracts of ruminant and monogastric animals and their implication in urea-N/ammonia metabolism: A review. Journal of Advanced Research 13: 39–50. DOI:

Schnegg A and Kirchgessner M. 1976a. Absorption and metabolic efficiency of iron during nickel deficiency. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 46: 96–99.

Shambhvi, Thamizhan P, Datt C, Chauhan P, Dudi K, Thakuria A, Singh P and Mani V. 2020. Probable roles of nickel in nutrient utilisation and animal performance: A review. Indian Journal of Animal Nutrition 37(4): 299–306. DOI:

Sherlock M and Toogood AA. 2007. Aging and the growth hormone/ insulin like growth factor-I axis. Pituitary 10: 189–203. DOI:

Singh A, Kumar M, Kumar V, Roy D, Kushwaha R, Vaswani S and Kumar A. 2019. Effects of nickel supplementation on antioxidant status, immune characteristics, and energy and lipid metabolism in growing cattle. Biological Trace Element Research 190(1): 65–75. DOI:

Spears J W and Hatfield E E. 1978. Nickel for ruminants I. Influence of dietary nickel on ruminal urease activity. Journal of Animal Science 47: 1345–50. DOI:

Spears J W, Hatfield E E and Forbes R M. 1979. Nickel for Ruminants II, influence of dietary nickel on performance and metabolic parameters. Journal of Animal Science 48: 649–57. Spears J W, Hatfield E E, Forbes R M and Koenig S E. 1978a. Studies on the role of nickel in the ruminant. Journal of Nutrition 108: 313–20. DOI:

Spears J W. 1984. Nickel as a ‘newer trace element’ in the nutrition of domestic animals. Journal of Animal Science 59: 823–34. DOI:

Stangi G I and Kirchgess M. 1998. Comparative effects of nickel and iron depletion on circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in rats. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 79: 18–26. DOI:

Starnes S R, Spears J W and Harvey R W. 1982. Influence of nickel and protein on performance and ruminal urease activity of growing steers. Journal of Animal Science 55: 465.

Stejskal V, Hudecek R, Stejskal J and Sterzl I. 2006. Diagnosis and treatment of metal-induced side-effects. Neuroendocrinology Letters 27(S1): 7–16.

Sunderman F W Jr, Dingle B, Hopfer S M and Swift T. 2007. Acute nickel toxicity in electroplating workers who accidently ingested a solution of nickel sulfate and nickel chloride. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 14: 257–66. DOI:

Thamizhan P. 2020. ‘Influence of supplementary nickel on nutrient use efficiency, blood metabolic profile and growth in Murrah buffalo calves.’ M.V.Sc. Thesis, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India.

Van Soest P J, Robertson J B and Lewis B A. 1991. Symposium: carbohydrate methodology, metabolism and nutritional implications in dairy cattle, methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and non starch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74(10): 3583–97. DOI:

Watanabe M, Masieri S, Costantini D, Tozzi R, De Giorgi F, Gangitano E,Tuccinardi D, Poggiogalle E, Mariani S, Basciani S, Petrangeli E, Gnessi L and Lubrano C. 2018. Overweight and obese patients with nickel allergy have a worse metabolic profile compared to weight matched non-allergic individuals. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202683. DOI:

Whanger P D. 1973. Effects of dietary nickel on enzyme activities and mineral contents in rats. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 25: 323–31. DOI:

Wu B, Cui H, Peng X, Fang J, Zuo Z, Deng J and Huang J. 2013. Dietary nickel chloride restrains the development of small intestine in broilers. Biological Trace Element Research 155(2): 236–46. DOI:

Yang J and Ma Z. 2021. Research progress on the effects of nickel on hormone secretion in the endocrine axis and on target organs. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 213: 112034. DOI:

Yousuf M B. 2005. Effect of nickel supplementation on dry matter intake, nutrient digestibility and live weight change of goats fed Panicum maximum hay. Journal of Agricultural Research and Development 4: 23–31.








How to Cite

KUMAR, M., SINGH, A., KUMAR, V., KUSHWAHA, R., VASWANI, S., KUMAR, A., SHUKLA, P. K., & SINGH, Y. (2022). Assessing essentiality of nickel in growing Hariana heifers by determining its effect on performance, nitrogen and mineral metabolism, urease activity, and endocrine biomarkers. The Indian Journal of Animal Sciences, 92(11), 1320–1326.