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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317111

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Differences between Angus and Holstein cattle in the Lupinus leucophyllus induced inhibition of fetal activity

item Green, Benedict - Ben
item Panter, Kip
item Lee, Stephen
item Welch, Kevin
item Pfister, James
item Gardner, Dale
item Stegelmeier, Bryan
item Davis, Thomas - Zane

Submitted to: Toxicon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2015
Publication Date: 9/2/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Green, B.T., Panter, K.E., Lee, S.T., Welch, K.D., Pfister, J.A., Gardner, D.R., Stegelmeier, B.L., Davis, T.Z. 2015. Differences between Angus and Holstein cattle in the Lupinus leucophyllus induced inhibition of fetal activity. Toxicon. 106:1-6.

Interpretive Summary: This work demonstrates that pregnant Holstein heifers have faster elimination and lower serum concentrations of the lupine teratogen anagyrine than Angus heifers when dosed one time orally with ground L. leucophyllus. Under these conditions, fetal movement in Angus heifers was inhibited more and longer than Holstein heifers. This suggests that Holsteins may be less susceptible to anagyrine-induced teratogenesis and may be better suited to use lupine-contaminated fields and ranges. More work is needed to confirm possible resistance to poisoning and to determine if there are genetic markers linked to that resistance that might be used to select and breed for resistance to poisoning.

Technical Abstract: In the United States, calves with congenital defects born to cows that have grazed teratogenic Lupinus spp. during pregnancy can suffer from what is colloquially termed crooked calf syndrome. Crooked calf defects include cleft palate, spinal column defects and angular limb malformations which are formed by alkaloid-induced inhibition of fetal movement. There are many breed differences in response to environmental stressors. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that there are differences in fetal activity of fetuses carried by Holstein verses Angus heifers orally dosed with 1.1 g/kg dried ground L. leucophyllus. Fetal activity was monitored via transrectal ultrasonography and maternal serum was analyzed for the lupine alkaloids anagyrine, lupanine, an unidentified alkaloid, and 5,6-dehydrolupanine. There were more (P < 0.05) fetal movements in Holstein heifers than in Angus heifers at eight and 12 hours after oral dosing. The Holstein heifers had significantly lower serum concentrations of anagyrine at 2, 4, and 8 hours after oral dosing than Angus heifers. Holstein heifers had significantly greater serum concentrations of lupanine at 12, 18 and 24 hours after dosing than the Angus heifers. These results suggest that there are breed differences in susceptibility to lupine-induced crooked calf syndrome. More work is needed to determine if these differences can be used to more safely utilize lupine-infested rangeland. These differences may also be used to discover genetic markers that identify resistant animals, thus facilitating selective breeding of resistant herds.