Acute exposure to ergot alkaloids from endophyte-infected tall fescue does not alter absorptive or barrier function of the isolated bovine ruminal epithelium

A. P. Foote, G. B. Penner, M. E. Walpole, J. L. Klotz, K. R. Brown, L. P. Bush, D. L. Harmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ergot alkaloids in endophyte-infected (Neotyphodium coenophialum) tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) have been shown to cause a reduction in blood flow to the rumen epithelium as well as a decrease in volatile fatty acids (VFA) absorption from the washed rumen of steers. Previous data also indicates that incubating an extract of endophyte-infected tall fescue seed causes an increase in the amount of VFA absorbed per unit of blood flow, which could result from an alteration in the absorptive or barrier function of the rumen epithelium. An experiment was conducted to determine the acute effects of an endophyte-infected tall fescue seed extract (EXT) on total, passive or facilitated acetate and butyrate flux across the isolated bovine rumen as well as the barrier function measured by inulin flux and tissue conductance (G t). Flux of ergovaline across the rumen epithelium was also evaluated. Rumen tissue from the caudal dorsal sac of Holstein steers (n=6), fed a common diet, was collected and isolated shortly after slaughter and mounted between two halves of Ussing chambers. In vitro treatments included vehicle control (80% methanol, 0.5% of total volume), Low EXT (50 ng ergovaline/ml) and High EXT (250 ng ergovaline/ml). Results indicate that there is no effect of acute exposure to ergot alkaloids on total, passive or facilitated flux of acetate or butyrate across the isolate bovine rumen epithelium (P>0.51). Inulin flux (P=0.16) and G t (P>0.17) were not affected by EXT treatment, indicating no alteration in barrier function due to acute ergot alkaloid exposure. Ergovaline was detected in the serosal buffer of the High EXT treatment indicating that the flux rate is ~0.25 to 0.44 ng/cm 2 per hour. Data indicate that specific pathways for VFA absorption and barrier function of the rumen epithelium are not affected by acute exposure to ergot alkaloids from tall fescue at the concentrations tested. Ergovaline has the potential to be absorbed from the rumen of cattle that could contribute to reduced blood flow and motility and lead to reduced growth rates of cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1112
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • bovine
  • ergovaline absorption
  • fescue toxicosis
  • volatile fatty acid absorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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