Indexed on: 13 Oct '14Published on: 13 Oct '14Published in: Journal of Dairy Science
Excess dietary nitrogen (EDN) is commonly expected in dairy herds, but no data are available regarding its consequences on cattle immunity. In this study neutrophil functions were assessed during EDN in steers. In experiment 1, 4 one-month periods, 4 diets [16% crude protein (CP; DM basis), 20% CP based on soybean meal, 20% CP based on urea, and 24% CP based on urea and soybean meal], and 4 steers were included in a crossover design to determine the effects of a chronic excess. In experiment 2, the repercussions of an acute excess were assessed with 2 periods of 10 d, the same 4 steers, and 2 diets containing 14 and 20% CP. Sampling was done during the fourth week of each period in experiment 1, and on d 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, and 9 of each period in experiment 2. Individual blood biochemistry parameters were measured and neutrophil factors, such as counts, recovery after isolation, surface expression of CD11b and CD62L, phagocytosis, diapedesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and bacteria killing, were determined. Data were analyzed by general linear models of R, with period, diet or biochemical component, and animal as explanatory variables. The outcome variables were biochemical or immune variables. The variables diet, period, and animal were forced as fixed effects. Data collected over the entire period of experiment 2 were pooled. Several multiples linear regressions or ANOVA were performed and a Bonferroni correction was applied. In experiment 2 (acute EDN), neutrophil counts were negatively associated with nitrogen intake, conversely to CD62L expression. The observed relative neutropenia may be due to neutrophil margination because CD62L-expressing neutrophils are more likely to stick to endothelium. Interestingly, ROS production was changed by EDN: chronic EDN (experiment 1) was negatively associated with opsonized zymozan (OZ)-induced ROS production and acute EDN (experiment 2) with spontaneous ROS production. For chronic EDN, ROS production upon phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate was not modified, in contrast to OZ stimulation. Decreased ROS production during chronic EDN probably involves the early events leading to ROS production, as OZ acts through membrane receptors and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate directly activates protein kinase C. This is the first study to provide evidence that the modifications of neutrophil functions produced by excess nitrogen depend on the intensity and duration of the excess. Further studies, including epidemiological studies during risk periods, are needed to resolve the issues linked to EDN.