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Haemodynamics of lambs grazing perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) either infected with AR6 novel, wild-type endophyte, or endophyte-free


Haemodynamics of lambs grazing perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) either infected with AR6 novel, wild-type endophyte, or endophyte-free



New Zealand Veterinary Journal 59(4): 179-184



ISSN/ISBN: 0048-0169

PMID: 21660847

DOI: 10.1080/00480169.2011.579247

To compare vasoconstriction of the auricular artery and characteristics of blood flow in the carotid arteries between lambs grazing perennial ryegrass that was either infected with the AR6 novel endophyte (AR6), wild-type endophyte or endophyte-free. Sixteen Coopworth lambs, mean 23.7 (SD 1.8) kg, were randomly assigned to graze three, 0.10-ha pastures of perennial ryegrass (cultivar Extreme) located in Lincoln, New Zealand, that were infected with either the AR6 novel endophyte (n=5) or wild-type endophyte (n=6) or were endophyte-free (n=5), for 18 days until 16 March 2009. Lambs on AR6 pasture were then switched to endophyte-free pasture, and those on endophyte-free were switched to AR6 pasture, for 18 days. Lambs continued grazing the wild-type ryegrass during both phases of the study. Colour Doppler ultrasonography was used to monitor cross-sectional area of lumina in the auricular and carotid arteries as measurements of vasoconstriction, and to measure pulsatility indices, heart rate, systolic and diastolic velocities, and mean velocity in the carotid artery. Urine was sampled once during each phase, to measure the concentration of urinary alkaloids. A heat challenge (32°C) was imposed on the last day of the experiment, to determine treatment effects on rectal temperature and respiration rate. Vasoconstriction was detected in the auricular arteries of lambs grazing AR6 and wild-type pastures. Areas of lumina declined linearly over 9 days in lambs that were switched from endophyte-free to AR6 pastures (p<0.05), and areas increased linearly in lambs that were switched from AR6 to endophyte-free pasture (p<0.001). Resistance to blood flow in the carotid arteries decreased linearly in the 9 days after lambs were switched from AR6 to endophyte-free pasture(p<0.05), and tended to increase after lambs on endophyte-free pasture were switched to AR6 (p<0.10). The concentrations of urinary alkaloids decreased after switching lambs from AR6 to endophyte-free pasture, and increased after switching from endophyte-free to AR6 pasture (p<0.05). The concentrations of urinary alkaloids of lambs on wild-type pasture were similar between the conditioning and experimental phases. There were no treatment effects on rectal temperature and respiration rate during the heat challenge. These results indicated that management approaches are needed to overcome potential vulnerabilities to heat stress for sheep grazing AR6 perennial ryegrass. Furthermore, following grazing such pasture, lambs will need to graze endophyte-free ryegrass for >18 days, to completely clear ergot alkaloids from their vasculature, assuming that complete clearance can be achieved.

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Accession: 053472154

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