Bovine lateral saphenous veins exposed to ergopeptine alkaloids do not relax

A. Pesqueira, D. L. Harmon, A. F. Branco, J. L. Klotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The ergot alkaloid ergovaline has demonstrated a persistent and sustained contractile response in several different vascular models. It was hypothesized that different alkaloids isolated from tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) will contribute to this contractile response differently. The objective was to compare contractileresponse patterns of single additions of the ergoline alkaloids lysergic acid, lysergol, and ergonovine and the ergopeptine alkaloids ergotamine, ergocristine, ergocryptine, ergocornine, and ergovaline (provided as tall fescue seed extract). Lateral saphenous veins were collected from 6 Holstein steers (BW = 397 ± 28 kg) immediately after slaughter, sliced into cross-sections, and suspended in myograph chambers containing oxygenated Krebs- Henseleit buffer (95% O2/5% CO2; pH = 7.4; 37°C). Treatments were added at 0 min and buffer was replaced in 15-min intervals for a 120-min incubation. In addition to maximum tension and time to reach maximum tension, percent relaxation and rate of relaxation were determined following maximum tension for each treatment. All compounds tested produced significant contractile responses (P < 0.05). All ergoline alkaloids reached maximum response in less time (P < 0.05) than the remaining compounds and began to relax immediately after first buffer change. Lysergic acid had the greatest (P < 0.05) percent relaxation and ergonovine had the greatest (P < 0.05) rate of relaxation. The ergopeptine alkaloids ergovaline, ergotamine, ergocristine, ergocryptine, and ergocornine had slower developing contractile responses with a longer (P < 0.05) interval until maximum tension was achieved compared to the ergoline alkaloids. Maximal responses to all the ergopeptine alkaloids, however, all persisted for the 120-min duration with negligible relaxation occurring. The different classes of alkaloids differed greatly in the type of contractile response generated in the lateral saphenous vein. Persistence of contractile response is thought to be the primary contributing factor to the vasoconstriction observed in animals demonstrating signs of fescue toxicosis, where different ergot alkaloids can contribute differently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1218
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Bovine
  • Contractile response
  • Ergoline alkaloids
  • Ergopeptine alkaloids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Bovine lateral saphenous veins exposed to ergopeptine alkaloids do not relax'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this