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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Livestock Issues Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #224963

Title: Stress and immunity: Implications on animal health and production.

item Carroll, Jeffery - Jeff Carroll
item Elsasser, Theodore

Submitted to: American Dairy Science Association Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2007
Publication Date: 7/15/2008
Citation: Carroll, J.A., Elsasser, T.H., Laurenz, J., Randel, R., Sartin, J., Welsh Jr., T. 2008. Stress and immunity: Implications on animal health and production [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science. 86(E. Suppl. 2):159. (Abstract #152)

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Throughout their production cycle, domestic livestock experience various stressors and varying magnitudes of stress that inhibit health and productivity. As researchers have continued to explore the complex interactions between stress and production parameters such as growth, reproduction, and health, multidisciplinary efforts emerged that have led to a greater understanding of homeostatic regulation. Based upon these efforts, our knowledge has extended beyond the "all or none" biological activity strictly associated with the "fight or flight" response. For instance, researchers have demonstrated that the combined immunological effects of glucocorticoids and catecholamines result in a well-orchestrated biological event designed to prevent over-stimulation of innate immunity and the production of proinflammatory cytokines while simultaneously priming the humoral immune response in an effort to provide adequate immunological protection. The perception of stress in domestic animals has evolved as well, now including indices such as environmental stress, nutritional stress, social stress, and prenatal stress. Animal stress is now identified as a unique event that elicits a specific behavioral, physiological, neuroendocrine, endocrine, and/or immune response that may be as unique as the stressful event itself. Additionally, there has been an increased effort to elucidate the interactions between stress responsiveness and immunological parameters in animals that may be either predisposed to or resistant to the detrimental effects of stress due to genetic programming and/or prior experiences. Of particular interest are animals that demonstrate differential stress and immunological responses due to previous exposure to various managerial, environmental, nutritional, or pathogenic stressors or due to varying temperaments within a genetically similar group of animals. Continued research efforts into these complex interactions may allow the implementation of alternative management practices, improved selection programs, and/or implementation of various nutritional strategies to prevent or overcome significant production losses and animal health care costs for livestock producers.