Innate immune responses to metabolic stress can be detected in rumen fluids

Published on: 10/12/2018
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Many production diseases of dairy cows are related to digestive troubles. The rumen subacute acidosis is the most relevant one, albeit not easily recognized. Recent studies suggest that forestomachs can perform regulatory actions at both regional and systemic levels since forestomach walls express immune receptors and cytokines, and the rumen liquor is infiltrated by leukocytes. Therefore, the rumen fluid could be conveniently collected for investigating metabolic production diseases. Thus, we investigated the origin of the leukocytes of the rumen fluid and demonstrated that they partly derive from saliva. Next, we carried out a field survey of innate immunity in rumen fluids of 128 cows from 12 dairy farms, along with clinical inspections, assessment of milk yield, rumen pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA) and major inflammo-metabolic parameters. Significant statistical correlations were found between immune markers in rumen fluids and biochemical parameters. A significant negative correlation was found in rumen between CD45 gene expression (leukocyte infiltration) and pH level. B cells were the most frequent mononuclear leukocyte population in the rumen liquor and their infiltration was negatively affected by low ruminal pH and high concentrations of VFA. Moreover, total Ig and IgM in rumen fluids were negatively correlated with ruminal pH and positively correlated with uremia. Our data suggest that forestomach immune responses could be directed to “dangers” arising within the forestomach environment. The immune markers could integrate consolidated diagnostic parameters (e.g. rumen pH) and contribute to robust, early diagnosis of tricky digestive troubles of cattle.

Keywords: Dairy cow, Forestomach, Immune response, Metabolic stress, Rumen fluid, Production disease.


This abstract was originally published in Research in Veterinary Science 117 (2018) 65–73.

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