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Plasma samples from two experiments were processed to determine whether ergot alkaloids associated with endophyte-infected tall fescue altered peripheral thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), or cortisol concentrations in cattle. In Exp. 1, seven Angus steers (294 kg) received i.v. bolus injections of saline (SAL), ergonovine maleate (7 mg; EM), or ergotamine tartrate (7 mg; ET) at weekly intervals, and they received all treatments during the study. Blood was sampled every 15 min for 5 h, and treatments were given after h 1. Mean ambient temperature was 34 degrees C. Treatment x time affected plasma concentrations of T3 (P < .05) and of cortisol (P < .001) but not that of T4 (P > .2). Plasma T3 concentrations were not affected by SAL, whereas concentrations increased (P < .01) after either EM or ET treatment. Plasma cortisol concentrations were not altered by SAL or EM, but they were increased (P < .001) by ET treatment. In Exp. 2, six Holstein cows (499 kg) nursing calves received a bolus i.v. injection of SAL, EM (9.5 mg), or ET (9.5 mg) per estrous cycle, and all treatments were given over three cycles. Blood was sampled every 20 min for 5 h; treatments were given after h 1. Mean ambient temperature was 26 degrees C. Treatment x time affected T3 (P = .08) and cortisol (P < .001) and tended to influence (P = .16) T4 concentrations. Plasma T3, T4, and cortisol concentrations were not influenced by SAL treatment. Plasma T3 was higher (P < or = .01) after EM or ET treatment compared with pretreatment concentrations. Concentrations of T4 during the 4 h after EM and ET were increased (P < .001) compared with pretreatment. Plasma cortisol concentrations were not altered by EM but were increased (P < .001) by ET. Ergot alkaloids implicated as contributing agents to fescue toxicosis alter plasma concentrations of hormones important to metabolic and thermoregulatory functions in cattle.
This research investigated whether ergot alkaloids associated with endophyte-infected tall fescue could alter plasma concentrations of pituitary hormones that regulate biological processes related to cattle performance. Seven Angus yearling steers received single i.v. injections of ergotamine tartrate, ergonovine maleate, or saline vehicle in a simple cross-over design. Each steer was given a different compound each week. Blood samples were collected at 15-min intervals for 45 min before and 240 min after treatments to assess plasma concentrations of prolactin, growth hormone, and LH. Respiratory rates were measured hourly to ascertain a systemic effect. Ambient temperature averaged 34 degrees C during data collection. Treatment x time was a significant source of variation for respiration rate and plasma concentrations of each hormone evaluated. Respiration rates were higher for ergonovine than for saline (P < .02) and ergotamine (P < .07) 30 min after treatment, but they were higher (P < .05) for ergotamine than for ergonovine and saline by 210 min after treatment. Both alkaloids transiently elevated (P < .01) plasma growth hormone concentrations compared with before alkaloid treatment and after saline treatment. Ergotamine reduced (P < .01) plasma concentrations of prolactin and LH throughout the 120-min period after treatment compared with concentrations before ergotamine treatment and after saline treatment. Ergonovine lowered (P < .01) prolactin concentrations for a shorter time than ergotamine and did not affect mean LH concentrations. Results indicated that ergot alkaloids implicated as contributing agents to fescue toxicosis can alter plasma concentrations of pituitary hormones important to cattle production.
Research was conducted to determine whether individual ergot alkaloids could induce signs of fescue toxicosis. Nine Angus heifers received single i.v. injections of ergotamine tartrate, ergonovine maleate, and saline vehicle in a simple cross-over design. Each heifer received a different compound each week and all treatments during the study. Physiological traits measured 15 min before and 30, 60, and 90 min after treatment were respiration rate, rectal and skin temperatures, systolic and diastolic pressures, and heart rate. Blood samples were collected 5 min before and 105 min after treatments to assess plasma prolactin concentrations. Heifers were on a fescue-free diet in drylot. Ambient temperature averaged 35 degrees C during data collection. A treatment x time interaction existed (P < .05) for respiration rate and prolactin concentrations. Ergot alkaloids altered (P < .05) all traits across time, except rectal temperature. Heifers under the influence of ergot alkaloids exhibited significantly lower skin temperature, heart rate, and prolactin and had higher respiration rate and blood pressure. Results indicated that individual ergot alkaloids administered i.v. induced signs of fescue toxicosis in cattle.
A proportion of patients with carotid sinus syncope (CSS) remain symptomatic even after pacemaker implantation because of persistence of a vasodepressor component. We report a patient with CSS whose syncopal episodes could be reproduced by carotid sinus massage and were due to profound hypotension associated with sudden sympathetic withdrawal, based on direct measurements of sympathetic nerve traffic. A double-blind trial with inhaled ergotamine provided significant symptomatic relief.
Treatment of orthostatic hypotension due to autonomic failure frequently necessitates use of pressor agents. Because venous pooling contributes significantly to this disorder, the venoconstrictive properties of ergotamine offer theoretical advantages over pure arteriolar pressor agents. However, the low and erratic bioavailability of oral preparations has hindered the use of ergotamine. Accordingly, the efficacy of inhaled ergotamine tartrate (1 puff, 0.36 mg) was compared to placebo in 8 patients with severe autonomic failure. Blood pressure was monitored in the seated position with an automated device. Ergotamine produced significant increases in systolic (29 +/- 5 mm Hg, p less than 0.01 by analysis of variance) and diastolic (13 +/- 1 mm Hg, p less than 0.001) blood pressures compared to placebo (-9 +/- 5 and -2 +/- 3, respectively). Upright blood pressure 2 hours after administration was significantly greater with ergotamine (119 +/- 8/69 +/- 6 mm Hg) vs placebo (82 +/- 7/59 +/- 5 mm Hg, p less than 0.05). Motionless standing time, a measurement of functional capacity, also improved with ergotamine (200 +/- 58 vs 85 +/- 22 seconds). No side effects were noted, but patients with coronary or peripheral artery disease were excluded. Inhaled ergotamine may provide an effective and practical therapy for disabling orthostatic hypotension due to autonomic failure.