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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332158

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

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Pine needle abortion in cattle update: Metabolite detection in sera and fetal fluids from abortion case samples

Author
item Gardner, Dale
item Panter, Kip
item Aduriz, Gorka - Neiker-Tecnalia
item Snider, Doug - Iowa State University
item Welch, Kevin
item Stegelmeier, Bryan

Submitted to: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2015
Publication Date: 6/5/2015
Citation: Gardner, D.R., Panter, K.E., Aduriz, G., Snider, D., Welch, K.D., Stegelmeier, B.L. 2015. Pine needle abortion in cattle update: Metabolite detection in sera and fetal fluids from abortion case samples. International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 9:301-306.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle abortions associated with consumption of pine needles are a serious poisonous plant problem in the Western US. The toxic compounds, known as labdane acids, in the pine needles are reviewed as well as the metabolic fate of the toxins. From this data it becomes apparent that one specific metabolite identified as tetrahydroagathic aicd remains in tissues longer than all other metabolites. As such, tetrahydroagathic acid maybe a good biomarker for diagnostic purposes and confirmation of pine needle consumption in cattle. Analyses of different tissue and fluid samples from actual diagnostic cases have confirmed the importance of tetrahydroagathic acid as an important biomarker for pine needle consumption. In addition, recent detection in aborted fetal fluids indicates that the metabolites cross the placenta and thus fluids, and tissues, from aborted fetus are also important diagnostic samples.

Technical Abstract: Cattle abortions associated with consumption of pine needles during late gestation are a serious poisonous plant problem in the Western US. Most cases of abortion have been associated with consumption of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and the causative agent was identified as the labdane diterpene isocupressic acid. We have also identified a related labdane, agathic acid, as being abortifactient in cattle and we suspect imbricatoloic acid maybe abortifacient in cattle. We have identified several metabolites of ICA including agathic acid, dihydroagathic acid and tetrahydroagathic acid. The toxicokenetics of these metabolites have been examined after a single plant dose and they occur in the serum for up to at least 60 hrs post dosage. However, agathic and dihydroagathic acid have been mostly eliminated by 60 hrs, but tetrahydroagathic acid appears to have increased in serum concentration by 60 hrs and this trend appears to increase in animals given multiple doses. As such, tetrahydroagathic acid maybe a good biomarker for diagnostic purposes and confirmation of pine needle consumption in cattle that abort. Over the past few years samples have been received from a number of different abortion cases for analysis of ICA metabolites. Analyses of these samples have confirmed the importance of tetrahydroagathic acid as an important biomarker for pine needle consumption as detected in sera samples. In addition, recent detection in aborted fetal fluids indicate that the metabolites cross the placenta and thus fluids, and possibly tissues, from aborted fetus are important diagnostic samples.