Cortisol (C) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are recognized as the main fetal steroids, and they are likely to influence fetal development and have long-term effects on newborn hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) function. DHEA is often measured as its sulfates and expressed as DHEA-S. Hair analysis represents a promising methodological approach for the non-invasive measurement of steroids, allowing for a retrospective analysis of the total exposure to steroids over time, and avoiding the influence of acute events or circadian fluctuations. Hair cortisol and DHEA concentrations have been investigated in cows, but no studies have been performed on calves. The object of this study was to evaluate hair cortisol (HC) and hair DHEA-S (HDHEA-S) concentrations in beef calves from birth to six months of age. Hair samples of 12 beef calves (seven males, five females) were firstly collected at birth (T1) and then every three weeks up to six months of age (T2-T10), collecting only the re-grown hair. HC and HDHEA-S were analyzed by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Calves sex, weight and APGAR score were registered immediately after birth. Statistical analysis revealed that both HC and HDHEA-S were influenced by sampling time (P < 0.001). HC concentrations were higher at T1 compared to all subsequent samplings (T2-T10, P < 0.01); HC concentrations were higher at T2 compared to T4-T10 (P < 0.01), while no further changes were detected from T3 onward. Higher HDHEA-S concentrations were registered at T1, T2 and T3 compared to all the other samplings (P < 0.01). No correlation was found between hair concentrations of both steroids and calf sex or birthweight. APGAR score was negatively correlated only with HC at birth (P < 0.05). These data demonstrate that C and DHEA-S are quantifiable in the hair of calves and are influenced by their age. The higher HC detected at birth (T1) probably reflects the high serum C concentrations present late in pregnancy and increased by the fetal HPA axis, by which parturition is initiated in cows. The highest HDHEA-S at birth (T1) in calves indicates that the largest amounts of DHEA and its sulfates are produced during fetal development. Moreover, the findings of higher HC at three weeks after birth and of higher HDHEA-S until six weeks after birth, suggest that C and DHEA secretion continues also beyond birth, and that these steroids could be involved in the events occurring during the challenging first weeks of age in the calf.

Hair cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations in healthy beef calves from birth to 6 months of age / M. Probo, T. Peric, J. Fusi, A. Prandi, M. Faustini, M.C. Veronesi. - In: THERIOGENOLOGY. - ISSN 0093-691X. - 175(2021 Nov), pp. 89-94. [10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.08.037]

Hair cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations in healthy beef calves from birth to 6 months of age

M. Probo;J. Fusi;M. Faustini;M. C. Veronesi
2021-11

Abstract

Cortisol (C) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are recognized as the main fetal steroids, and they are likely to influence fetal development and have long-term effects on newborn hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) function. DHEA is often measured as its sulfates and expressed as DHEA-S. Hair analysis represents a promising methodological approach for the non-invasive measurement of steroids, allowing for a retrospective analysis of the total exposure to steroids over time, and avoiding the influence of acute events or circadian fluctuations. Hair cortisol and DHEA concentrations have been investigated in cows, but no studies have been performed on calves. The object of this study was to evaluate hair cortisol (HC) and hair DHEA-S (HDHEA-S) concentrations in beef calves from birth to six months of age. Hair samples of 12 beef calves (seven males, five females) were firstly collected at birth (T1) and then every three weeks up to six months of age (T2-T10), collecting only the re-grown hair. HC and HDHEA-S were analyzed by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Calves sex, weight and APGAR score were registered immediately after birth. Statistical analysis revealed that both HC and HDHEA-S were influenced by sampling time (P < 0.001). HC concentrations were higher at T1 compared to all subsequent samplings (T2-T10, P < 0.01); HC concentrations were higher at T2 compared to T4-T10 (P < 0.01), while no further changes were detected from T3 onward. Higher HDHEA-S concentrations were registered at T1, T2 and T3 compared to all the other samplings (P < 0.01). No correlation was found between hair concentrations of both steroids and calf sex or birthweight. APGAR score was negatively correlated only with HC at birth (P < 0.05). These data demonstrate that C and DHEA-S are quantifiable in the hair of calves and are influenced by their age. The higher HC detected at birth (T1) probably reflects the high serum C concentrations present late in pregnancy and increased by the fetal HPA axis, by which parturition is initiated in cows. The highest HDHEA-S at birth (T1) in calves indicates that the largest amounts of DHEA and its sulfates are produced during fetal development. Moreover, the findings of higher HC at three weeks after birth and of higher HDHEA-S until six weeks after birth, suggest that C and DHEA secretion continues also beyond birth, and that these steroids could be involved in the events occurring during the challenging first weeks of age in the calf.
bovine; calves; cortisol; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; hair
Settore VET/10 - Clinica Ostetrica e Ginecologia Veterinaria
Settore VET/02 - Fisiologia Veterinaria
2021
THERIOGENOLOGY
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/867404
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