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|Title:||Lymphocyte functions in dairy cows under hot environment||Authors:||Lacetera, Nicola
|Keywords:||Cows;Lymphocytes;Spring;Summer||Issue Date:||2005||Publisher:||Springer||Source:||Lacetera, N. et al. 2005. Lymphocyte functions in dairy cows under hot environment. "International Journal of Biometeorology" 50 (2): 105-110||Abstract:||
This study was carried out to ascertain the effects of intense high environmental temperatures (HET) on lymphocyte functions in periparturient dairy cows. The study was undertaken from the beginning of March through the
end of July 2003 in a commercial dairy unit located approximately 40 km north of Rome. Thirty-four Holstein cows were utilised in the study. Twenty-two of these cows
gave birth in spring (SP cows), from 28 March to 30 April.
The remaining 12 cows gave birth in summer (SU cows), between 15 June and 2 July. The two groups of cows were balanced for parity and were fed the same rations. Blood samples were taken 4, 3, 2 and 1 week before calving, and 1, 2 and 4 weeks after calving, in order to evaluate peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) function
in vitro, and to determine plasma cortisol concentrations.
After isolation, the PBMC were stimulated with mitogens and their response in terms of DNA synthesis and IgM secretion was measured. During spring, either the day (9–
20 h) or the night (21–8 h) temperature humidity index (THI) was below the upper critical THI (72) established for dairy cows. During summer, the mean daily THI values were 79.5±2.9 during the day and 70.1±4.7 during the night. Furthermore, during summer, three heat waves (a period of at least 3 consecutive days during which there were less than 10 recovery hours) occurred. Recovery hours were intended hours with a THI below 72. The first heat
wave lasted 5 days, the second 6 days, and the third 15 days. Compared to the SP cows, over the entire periparturient period the extent of DNA synthesis and IgM secretion
levels were lower (P ranging from <0.01 to 0.0001) and higher (P<0.01) respectively, in the SU cows. Before calving, the SU cows also presented higher (P<0.01)concentrations of plasma cortisol compared to the SP cows.
This study indicates that the effects of HET on the immune response depend on the specific immune function under consideration, and that neuroendocrinal changes due to HET may play a role in the perturbation of immune functions
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