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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING THE BIOLOGY OF THE ANIMAL-PLANT INTERFACE FOR IMPROVED SUSTAINABILITY OF FORAGE-BASED ANIMAL ENTERPRISES Title: Ergot alkaloids: toxicokinetics and vascular effects

Authors
item Strickland, James
item Brown, Kelly
item Aiken, Glen
item Klotz, James
item Flythe, Michael

Submitted to: International Symposium on Fungal Endophytes of Grasses
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2011
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Citation: Strickland, J.R., Brown, K.R., Aiken, G.E., Klotz, J.L., Flythe, M.D. 2012. Ergot alkaloids: toxicokinetics and vascular effects. International Symposium on Fungal Endophytes of Grasses. pgs 14-19.

Interpretive Summary: Endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum)-infected tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) occupies nearly 15 million ha in the USA. Although this symbiosis is beneficial to the plant, it produces ergot alkaloids that are detrimental to livestock production. Livestock consuming the alkaloids elicit adverse physiological responses including: elevated body temperature, reduced growth rates and reproduction, abnormal hair growth and shedding, and altered hormonal profiles. Several of these responses may be explained by alkaloid-induced vasoconstriction via interactions with biogenic amine receptors. Less is known concerning the toxicokinetics of the alkaloids. Existing literature suggests alkaloid metabolism occurs within the rumen, intestinal cells, and liver. Further, data suggest that clearance from the body is via urinary and fecal routes. Finally, there exists a need for a robust, selective and highly sensitive analytical method for alkaloid detection in animal tissues. This review provides an overview of ergot alkaloid mechanisms of action on the vasculature of livestock as well as the toxicokinetics and analyses.

Technical Abstract: Endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum)-infected tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) occupies nearly 15 million ha in the USA. Although this symbiosis is beneficial to the plant, it produces ergot alkaloids that are detrimental to livestock production. Livestock consuming the alkaloids elicit adverse physiological responses including: elevated body temperature, reduced growth rates and reproduction, abnormal hair growth and shedding, and altered hormonal profiles. Several of these responses may be explained by alkaloid-induced vasoconstriction via interactions with biogenic amine receptors. Less is known concerning the toxicokinetics of the alkaloids. Existing literature suggests alkaloid metabolism occurs within the rumen, intestinal cells, and liver. Further, data suggest that clearance from the body is via urinary and fecal routes. Finally, there exists a need for a robust, selective and highly sensitive analytical method for alkaloid detection in animal tissues. This review provides an overview of ergot alkaloid mechanisms of action on the vasculature of livestock as well as the toxicokinetics and analyses.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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