Research Unit Reproductive Biology

Dummerstorf, Germany

Research Unit Reproductive Biology

Dummerstorf, Germany
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Schwarm A.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Viergutz T.,Research Unit Reproductive Biology | Kuhla B.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Hammon H.M.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Schweigel-Rontgen M.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology | Year: 2013

A general phenomenon in peripartum mammals is the breakdown of (acquired) immunity. The incidence of parasite load, disease and inflammation often rise during the specific energetically demanding time of pregnancy and lactation. In this period, blood leukocytes display decreased DNA synthesis in response to mitogens in vitro. Leukocyte activation, the phase of the cell cycle preceding the DNA synthetic phase has hardly been investigated, but the few studies suggest that leukocyte activation may also be impaired by the limited energy/nutrient availability. Leukocyte activation is characterized by manifold processes, thus, we used the cellular oxygen consumption rate (OCR) as a measure of ATP turnover to support all these processes. We hypothesized that the activation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) - in terms of oxygen consumed over basal levels after in vitro stimulation - is altered by energy balance around parturition. We studied peripartum high-yielding dairy cows because they undergo substantial fluctuations in energy intake, energy output and body fat mass. We established a fluorescence-based test strategy allowing for long-term (≥24h) quantification of O2-consumption and studied the peripartum period from 5weeks ante partum to 5weeks postpartum. In addition, we determined cellular lactate production, DNA/RNA synthesis and cell size and zoo-technical parameters such as animal energy intake and milk yield were assessed, as well as selected plasma parameters, e.g. glucose concentration. The basal OCR of PBMC from pregnant, non-lactating cows (n=6, -5weeks ante partum) was 1.19±0.15nmolmin-1 (107cells)-1 and increased to maximum levels of 2.54±0.49nmolmin-1 (107cells)-1 in phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated PBMC. The basal OCR did not change over the peripartum period. Whereas the activation indices, herein defined as the PHA-induced 24h-increase of OCR above baseline, amounted to 1.1±0.3, 4.2±0.3, 4.1±1.1, 2.1±0.3, and 2.7±0.5 at weeks -5, -1, +1, +2, and +5 relative to parturition, respectively. Because the activation index was positively correlated to plasma glucose levels and to energy balance during late pregnancy (week -5/week -1) and transition to lactation (week -1/week +2), we conclude that PBMC activation is modulated by energy/nutrient availability. In future studies, the activation index should aid the identification of causal mechanisms of disparity in PBMC activation, such as attenuated ion transport or macromolecule synthesis. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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