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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Health and Well-Being

Effects of dexamethasone treatment and respiratory vaccination on rectal temperature, complete blood count, and functional capacities of neutrophils in beef steers1,2


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 4, p. 1502-1511
    Received: Jan 04, 2017
    Accepted: Feb 19, 2017
    Published: April 13, 2017

    3 Corresponding author(s):

  1. H. D. Hughes*,
  2. J. A. Carroll 3,
  3. N. C. Burdick Sanchez,
  4. S. L. Roberts*,
  5. P. R. Broadway,
  6. N. D. May*,
  7. M. A. Ballou and
  8. J. T. Richeson*
  1. * Department of Agricultural Sciences, West Texas A&M University, Canyon 79016
     Livestock Issues Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Lubbock, TX 79403
     Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79415


The objective of this research was to examine the effects of dexamethasone (DEX) treatment on various aspects of immunity following administration of a multivalent respiratory vaccine, using a model intended to mimic acute versus chronic stress. Angus × Hereford steers (n = 32; 209 ± 8 kg) were stratified by BW and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: 1) acute stress (ACU), in which 0.5 mg/kg BW DEX was intravenously administered at 1000 h only on d 0; 2) chronic stress (CHR), in which 0.5 mg/kg BW DEX was intravenously administered at 1000 h on d −3 to 0; or 3) control (CON), in which no DEX was administered. Steers were fitted with indwelling jugular catheters and rectal temperature (RT) recording devices on d −4 relative to vaccination and placed in individual stanchions in an environmentally controlled facility. Blood samples were collected and serum was isolated at −74, −50, and −26 h; at 0.5-h intervals from −4 to 6 h; and at 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h relative to multivalent respiratory vaccination at 1200 h on d 0. Additional blood samples were used to analyze complete blood cell count (CBC) and functional capacities of neutrophils. There was a treatment × time interaction (P < 0.01) for RT such that DEX treatment in CHR and ACU steers decreased RT on d −3 and 0, respectively. A treatment × time interaction (P < 0.01) was observed for total white blood cells (WBC), neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes. Specifically, DEX increased WBC and neutrophils in CHR and ACU steers (P < 0.001) yet decreased lymphocytes in CHR steers (P = 0.02) compared with CON steers. Neutrophil concentration increased rapidly, within 2 h of the DEX infusion, in ACU steers. Monocytes transiently increased (P < 0.001) in response to DEX treatment in CHR and ACU steers. In contrast, eosinophils were greater (P < 0.01) in CON steers than in ACU and CHR steers. A treatment × time interaction (P = 0.004) was observed for interferon-γ, with CON cattle exhibiting greater concentrations than the ACU and CHR cattle at 5 h after vaccination, through d 3. Treatment also influenced (P ≤ 0.001) the expression of L-selectin on the surface of neutrophils. The percentage of neutrophils engaging in phagocytosis and the oxidative burst were suppressed (P ≤ 0.001) among only the CHR steers, whereas the intensity of the oxidative burst was suppressed (P ≤ 0.001) for both ACU and CHR steers. These data suggest that our model induced acute and chronic immunosuppression and defined the acute response to a multivalent vaccine in CON steers.

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