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Mülling, C. K. W.; Bragulla, H. H.; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Budras, K. D.; Steinberg, W. (1999): How structures in bovine hoof epidermis are influenced by nutritional factors. In: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia, Vol. 28, No. 2: pp. 103-108
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The structure of the hoof epidermis is the link between nutrition and horn quality. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the relationship of single structures in the process of keratinization and cornification of bovine hoof epidermis to certain nutritional factors such as lipids, minerals and vitamins. Furthermore, we wanted to show the structural changes in the dyskeratotic epidermis caused by an insufficient supply of keratinizing epidermal cells. For our study we used samples of hoof epidermis from 25 dual-purpose dairy cattle, with ages ranging between 2.5 and 4 years. We also obtained a complete set of hooves from a biotin-deficient calf. All samples were investigated by light and transmission electron microscopy, using routine methods as well as histochemical and enzyme-histochemical techniques. We focused on epidermal structures that have a major influence on horn quality and are known to be related to single nutritional factors. The strength of the keratin filament bundles is determined by their cross-linking via sulphur-containing amino acids. Essential fatty acids are required for the synthesis of an intercellular cementing substance connecting the horn cells and establishing a permeability barrier in the stratum corneum. Minerals, in particular calcium, are essential for activation of enzymes that are a prerequisite for physiological keratinization and cornification. Furthermore, vitamins such as biotin are essential in the metabolism of the keratinizing epidermal cells.