Effects of grazing different ergovaline concentrations on vasoactivity of bovine lateral saphenous vein

James L. Klotz, Glen E. Aiken, Amanda M. Egert-McLean, F. Neal Schrick, Nabanita Chattopadhyay, David L. Harmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated that exposure to ergot alkaloids reduces vasoactivity of serotonin (5HT) receptors. Chemical suppression of tall fescue seedhead production is a tool to reduce the level of exposure to ergot alkaloids by a grazing animal. Therefore, the objective was to evaluate contractility of lateral saphenous veins biopsied from mixed breed steers following a 87-to 101-d grazing period on 3-ha pastures of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon; n = 5 steers; BW = 340 ± 9 kg), or toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) that was not treated (n = 5 steers; BW = 300 ± 6; 0.56 ppm ergovaline) or was treated (n = 5 steers; BW = 294 ± 9 kg; 0.24 ppm ergov-aline) with herbicide containing aminopyralid and metsulfuron-methyl. To evaluate contractility, biopsied veins were mounted in a multimyograph and exposed to increasing concentrations of a tall fescue seed extract (EXT; ergovaline source) and 5HT1B (CP 93129), 5HT1D (L-694,247), and 5HT2A (TCB2) agonists. All contractility data were normalized to a maximal response of 1 × 10−4 M norepinephrine and were analyzed as a split plot treatment design using SAS for effects of pasture treatment, agonist concentration, and the interaction. There was no contractile response to any concentration of 5HT1B agonist in any of the pasture treatments. There were pasture × concentration interactions for contractile responses to 5HT2A agonist (P < 0.01) and EXT (P < 0.01). For both EXT and TCB2, veins from bermudagrass steers were more vasoactive to the higher concentrations of these compounds (P < 0.05), and there were no differences between veins collected from the unsuppressed or seedhead-suppressed treatments (P = 0.66). There was also a pasture × concentration interaction for the contractile responses to 5HT1D agonist (P < 0.01). However, these responses were not sigmoidal and reached a zenith at 5 × 10−7 and 1 × 10−6 M. At these concentrations, the response was greatest for veins from the unsuppressed treatment (P < 0.05) and did not differ between veins from suppressed and bermudagrass treatments (P = 0.41). Although reduced levels of ergovaline in seedhead-suppressed pastures did not alter vasoactivity of 5HT2A or 5HT1B receptors in the lateral saphenous vein, elevated vasoactivity of 5HT1D in veins from unsuppressed tall fescue pasture treatment suggests that lower ergovaline levels in seedhead-suppressed pastures can influence the vascular effects of ergot alkaloids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3022-3030
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


  • Cattle
  • Ergot alkaloids
  • Serotonin receptors
  • Tall fescue
  • Vasoconstriction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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