155 Evaluation of cytokine response as an indicator of genetic resistance to fescue toxicosis in purebred Angus cattle Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Fescue toxicosis is a multifaceted syndrome common in cattle grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue. However, varying responses among cattle potentially implies genetic tolerance to the syndrome. Therefore, the objective was to evaluate the cytokine response of cows deemed either tolerant or susceptible to endophyte-infected fescue. Angus cows, 24 yrs old, grazed endophyte-infected tall fescue at two locations for 13 weeks starting mid-April 2016. A post-hoc analysis of animal performance was utilized to designate cattle into either tolerant (n = 20) or susceptible (n = 20) groups, based on physiological responses (changes in ADG) to chronic exposure to endophyte-infected fescue. Blood samples collected on weeks 1, 7, and 13 were used to evaluate serum prolactin (PRL) concentration. Cytokine concentrations were evaluated via Quantibody Bovine Cytokine Arrays. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS with repeated measures. There were no differences by location or week. Tolerant cows tended to have decreased overall PRL concentrations compared to susceptible cows (98.3 and 138.4 ng/mL, respectively; P = 0.08). G protein-coupled receptor associated sorting protein (GASP)-1, a down-regulator of G protein-coupled receptors including D2-dopamine receptor a regulator of PRL secretion, was greater in tolerant cows when compared to susceptible cows (4.7 and 4.2 ng/mL; P = 0.03). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A was greater in tolerant cows when compared to susceptible cows (0.5 and 0.2 ng/mL; P = 0.02). Finally, interleukin (IL)-4, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, tended to be greater in tolerant cows when compared to susceptible cows (2.2 and 0.8 ng/mL, respectively; P = 0.07). Based on these data, greater concentrations of GASP-1, VEGF-A, and IL-4 in tolerant compared to susceptible cattle may mitigate the detrimental effects of fescue toxicosis, including suppressed PRL and vasoconstriction, leading to improved animal performance in a fescue environment. Additionally, these cytokines may serve as potential biomarkers for determining an animals tolerance or susceptibility to negative effects associated with endophyte-infected tall fescue

published proceedings

  • Journal of Animal Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Mayberry, K., Poole, R. K., Newsome, M. A., Khanal, P., Poore, M. H., Serao, N., & Poole, D. H.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Mayberry, Kyle||Poole, Rebecca K||Newsome, McKayla A||Khanal, Piush||Poore, Matthew H||Serao, Nick VL||Poole, Daniel H

publication date

  • July 2019