Acremonium coenophialum produces ergopeptide alkaloids in tall rescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). These ergot alkaloids decrease serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, serum cholesterol and prolactin concentrations, as well as average daily gains (ADG) in cattle. The objective of this study was to evaluate the protection of anti-ergotamine antibodies induced by either oral or parenteral vaccination with protein-ergotamine conjugates or passive vaccination with anti-ergovaline, monoclonal antibodies in a murine model of fescue toxicosis. Ergotamine (EG) was conjugated to bovine serum albumin (BSA) and cholera toxin subunit B (CTB) by the Mannich reaction. Mice were blocked based on weight and randomly allocated into five groups of 10 mice each. Treatment groups were as follows: (1) group vaccinated intraperitoneally (ip) with a BSA-EG conjugate and fed an endophyte-infected (EI) fescue diet (BSA-EG group); (2) group orally vaccinated with a CTB-EG conjugate mixed with free cholera toxin (CT) and fed an EI fescue diet (CTB- EG group); (3) nonvaccinated group fed an EI fescue diet (EI group); (4) group passively vaccinated with anti-ergovaline, monoclonal antibodies and fed an EI fescue diet (MoAB group); and (5) nonvaccinated group fed an endophyte-free (EF) fescue diet (EF group). The EI diet contained 1.5 ppm of Ergovaline (EV), whereas no EV was detected in the EF diet. Respective diets were similar upon nutritional analysis. Unvaccinated mice in the EI group exhibited features of fescue toxicosis as indicated by decreased serum ALP activity and cholesterol, and decreased weight gain as compared to mice in the EF group. Antibodies against EG and EV were present in sera of mice in the BSA-EG and MoAB groups, respectively. Mice orally vaccinated with the CTB-EG conjugate developed secretory, IgA (sIgA) antibodies and short-lived, systemic IgG responses against EG. Weight gains were increased in the BSA-EG and CTB-EG groups and tended to be increased in the MoAB group vs. the unvaccinated EI group. Serum ALP activity was decreased in the BSA-EG and MoAB groups as compared to the EF group. Serum ALP activity was further decreased in the BSA-EG vaccinated group as compared to the EI group. Cholesterol concentrations were decreased in the EI, BSA-EG and MoAB groups as compared to the EF group. Prolactin concentrations were similar in all groups.
- Fescue toxicosis
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