Effects of elevated parameters of subclinical ketosis on the immune system of dairy cows: in vivo and in vitro results
Using an established model in which subclinical ketosis is induced, the response of differential blood counts and levels of various haematological variables, including the inflammatory marker haptoglobin (Hp), were tested over the last six weeks of parturition until the 56th day post-partum in cows with lower or higher body condition scores (LBC and HBC, respectively; n = 9/group). Animals in the HBC group evidenced subclinical ketosis whereas LBC animals were metabolically healthy. For in vitro examination with ß-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) as a further stimulus, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) counts of cows with and without subclinical ketosis (n = 5/group) were observed. Counts of leucocytes, granulocytes and lymphocytes (LY) peaked at day 1 post-partum in HBC cows, with a more marked increase in heifers. In subclinical ketosis LY count increased again, with significantly higher values in the HBC group. The red blood cell (RBC) profile was affected by parity (counts were higher in heifers). Hp showed a positive linear correlation with BHB and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA; R2 = 0.41). PBMC from cows that were not pre-stressed with subclinical ketosis were more sensitive to increasing levels of BHB in vitro, as evidenced by both their higher proliferative capability and increased release of nitric oxide (NO). In summary, cows with subclinical ketosis showed a heightened immune response compared with metabolically healthy individuals, based on increased LY counts, increasing stimulative properties of PBMC and a relationship between Hp and typically increased values of BHB and NEFA. Concentrations of BHB in vivo during subclinical ketosis did not alter the proliferative capability of bovine PBMC in vitro, which was first significantly decreased at a dosage of 5 mM BHB.
Schulz, Kirsten / Frahm, Jana / Kersten, Susanne / et al: Effects of elevated parameters of subclinical ketosis on the immune system of dairy cows: in vivo and in vitro results. 2015.
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