Exposure to lipopolysaccharide in utero alters the postnatal metabolic response in heifers


This study was designed to determine the effect of prenatal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure on the postnatal metabolic response to an LPS challenge in beef heifers. Pregnant, crossbred cows (n = 50) were assigned to a prenatal immune stimulation (PIS; n = 25; administered 0.1 µg/kg BW LPS subcutaneously 233 ± 15d of gestation) or saline treatment group (Control; n = 25). Birth and weaning BW of calves were collected. There was not (P> 0.05) a treatment × gender interaction for birth weight or 205-d adjusted weaning BW. Treatment did not affect (P> 0.05) birth BW, but steers and heifers of PIS cows had greater (P < 0.02) 205-d adjusted weaning BW than offspring from Control cows. From the 2 prenatal treatment groups, heifer calves (n = 12 PIS, 11 Control) were identified at weaning (238 ± 15 d of age) to subsequently receive an LPS challenge. On d 0, heifers were fitted with indwelling jugular catheters and were moved into individual pens. On d 1, heifers (fed at 0600 h) were challenged i.v. with LPS (0.5 µg/kg BW) at 0 h (1000 h). Blood samples were collected at 30-min intervals from -2 to 8 h and again at 24 h relative to the LPS challenge. There was a treatment × time interaction (P < 0.01) for cortisol; PIS heifers had greater cortisol from 4 to 6.5 h post-LPS challenge (P < 0.001). There was a treatment × time interaction (P = 0.04) for serum glucose such that glucose was greater (P = 0.01) in PIS than Control heifers at 0.5 h, but was greater in Control than PIS heifers at 2, 4.5, and 7 h post-LPS challenge. This resulted in overall time (P < 0.01) and treatment (P < 0.01) effects such that Control heifers had greater glucose concentrations than PIS heifers. There was a tendency (P = 0.10) for a treatment × time interaction for serum NEFA, such that NEFA was greater in Control than PIS heifers at -2, -1.5, and 7 h relative to the LPS challenge (P ≤ 0.02). Also, there were time (P < 0.01) and treatment effects (P < 0.01) for NEFA with Control heifers having greater NEFA than PIS heifers. Serum BUN was affected by a treatment × time interaction (P < 0.01). Concentrations of BUN were greater in PIS heifers from -1.5 to -1 h, 1 to 2 h, at 4 h, and from 5 to 24 h relative to the LPS challenge. These results demonstrate postnatal growth and the metabolic responses of weaned beef calves can be significantly altered with a single exposure to LPS in utero.


Animal Science

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Journal of animal science