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Changes in lymphocyte glucocorticoid and beta-adrenergic receptors in veal calves treated with clenbuterol and steroid hormones for growth-promoting purposes

Odore, R.; Badino, P.; Pagliasso, S.; Nebbia, C.; Cuniberti, B.; Barbero, R.; Re, G.

Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 29(2): 91-97

2006


ISSN/ISBN: 0140-7783
PMID: 16515662
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2885.2006.00719.x
Accession: 004405393

In order to identify possible peripheral markers of illegal treatments with growth-promoting agents in veal calves, beta-adrenergic receptor (beta-AR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) concentrations were measured in lymphocytes of 12 male Friesian crossbred calves (six controls and six treated). The animals received a cocktail of anabolic and re-partitioning agents [17beta-oestradiol: 3 x 10 mg intramuscular (i.m.) doses at 17-day intervals; dexamethasone sodium phosphate: 4 mg/day for 6 days and 5 mg/day for six further days dissolved in milk; and clenbuterol: 20 microg/kg/day dissolved in milk for the last 40 days before slaughter]. Blood samples were collected by venipuncture at different time points and lymphocytes were isolated by density gradient centrifugation. Lymphocyte beta-AR and GR levels were measured by binding assays. Treatment with re-partitioning agents caused a significant down-regulation of lymphocyte beta-ARs 19 days after the beginning of clenbuterol administration and at day 55 (after dexamethasone withdrawal, just before slaughter). This phenomenon was partially reversed at day 50, after dexamethasone administration, at which time a significant decrease in GR concentrations also occurred. For both types of receptors, no significant changes in the dissociation constant values were observed at any time point. Lymphocytes express measurable concentrations of beta-ARs and GRs and the measurement of receptor levels highlights the fluctuation of receptor expression due to the dynamic interaction of the drugs used in combination. Lymphocyte receptor determination could therefore be included in a battery of biological assays to detect illegal treatments with anabolic agents in veal calves in the light of a multivariate approach.

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