Monocyte Immune Cell Response and Copper Status in Beef Steers That Grazed Endophyte-Infected Tall Fescue 1

K. E. Saker, V. G. Allen, J. Kalnitsky, C. D. Thatcher, W. S. Swecker, J. P. Fontenot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

A 3-yr study was conducted to evaluate immune response and Cu status of yearling beef steers as a consequence of grazing tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) infected (E+) with the endophyte fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum ([Morgan-Jones and Gams] Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin). During a preliminary study in 1994, 24 weanling Angus and Angus x Hereford steers were blocked by breed and weight (initial BW 271 kg; SD 25) and were randomized to E+ and low endophyte (E-) fescue in pastures at Glade Spring, VA. Grazing began in April and was discontinued in July. In 1995 and 1996, 24 weanling Angus and Angus x Hereford steers (initial BW 249 kg, SD 20 and 240 kg, SD 15, respectively) were randomized to the E+ and E- pastures at Glade Spring during each year. Grazing began in April and continued until September in 1995 and October in 1996. In 1994, steers that grazed E+ fescue exhibited lower (P < .05) phagocytic activity, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression, ceruloplasmin, and serum Cu than steers that grazed E- tall fescue. During 1995, steers grazing E+ fescue had lower (P < .05) phagocytic activity and MHC class II expression than steers that grazed E- fescue. In 1996, one-half of the steers within each paddock received a Cu oxide bolus at the beginning of the grazing season. During 1996, phagocytic activity was lower (P < .01) and MHC class II expression tended (P < .07) to be lower in steers that grazed E+ tall fescue than in steers that grazed E- tall fescue. Copper supplementation increased (P < .05) MHC class II expression in July regardless of endophyte status over nonsupplemented steers. Steers that grazed E- tall fescue had higher (P < .05) plasma or serum Cu concentrations than steers that grazed E+ tall fescue in each year of the study. These data indicate that the endophyte compromised the immune function of grazing steers, and the data suggest a relationship with depressed Cu status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2694-2700
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume76
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Copper
  • Endophytes
  • Forage
  • Immune Response
  • Minerals
  • Steers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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