Intermittent parenteral administration of endotoxin triggers metabolic and immunological alterations typically associated with displaced abomasum and retained placenta in periparturient dairy cows.
This study sought to investigate the effects of induced intermittent endotoxemia on plasma mediators of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, humoral immunity, and clinical health status in periparturient dairy cows. Sixteen pregnant Holstein cows were blocked by parity and day of calving, and were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 different treatment groups. Eight cows were infused intravenously (i.v.) with 100mL of sterile saline and served as the control group (CON). The other 8 cows were infused i.v. with 100mL of sterile saline containing 3 increasing doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), from Escherichia coli O111:B4, for 3 consecutive weeks during the 2 wk before and 1 wk after parturition as follows: (1) 0.01 μg of LPS/kg of body weight (BW) on d -14 and -10; (2) 0.05 μg of LPS/kg of BW on d -7 and -3; and (3) 0.1 μg of LPS/kg of BW on d 3 and 7 postpartum. Nine blood samples were collected during the experimental period (i.e., from -14 to 28 d postpartum) and analyzed for calcium, zinc, iron, copper, glucose, lactate, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), cholesterol, insulin, cortisol, serum amyloid A (SAA), lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), haptoglobin (Hp), and anti-LPS IgA, IgG, and IgM. Results showed that intermittently induced endotoxemia decreased feed intake and milk production and triggered alterations in plasma cholesterol, BHBA, Hp, Ca, Cu, and anti-LPS IgG and IgM. All of these changes were associated with a greater number of cows affected by metabolic disorders such as left displaced abomasum (LDA, 2 from 8 LPS cows vs. 0 from 8 CON cows) and retained placenta (RP; 4 from 8 LPS cows vs. 0 from 8 CON cows). In addition, the discriminant analysis differently clustered the cow responses within LPS group, each corresponding to LDA, RP, and the cows displaying no clinical health problems (LPS-NO). The stepwise selection procedure of the best discriminant variables revealed that plasma Ca and anti-LPS IgG, as well as glucose and cortisol, were the best discriminating variables for cows affected by LDA, whereas NEFA and cholesterol better discriminated for cows affected by RP. This analysis also revealed that the cluster of plasma variables including plasma Cu, SAA, BHBA, and anti-LPS IgA were the best discrimination for the LPS-NO group. In conclusion, our results indicate a role of endotoxemia, during the periparturient period, in development of metabolic and immune disturbances, as well as in the etiopathology of displaced abomasum and retained placenta in dairy cows.