Author(s): Dohmen MJ, Joop K, Sturk A, Bols PE, Lohuis JA
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Abstract A study was conducted to investigate the relationship between intra-uterine bacterial contamination, endotoxin levels and the development of endometritis in cows that experienced a dystocia or retained their placenta. Fifteen healthy cows, 31 cows with retained placenta (RP) and 13 cows that had dystocia were clinically examined 1 or 2 days after parturition when a uterine swab for bacteriological examination was taken. In addition, plasma and uterine lochia samples were collected to determine lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the plasma IgG anti-LPS concentrations. Subsequently, 15 RP and 6 dystocia cows were initially left untreated and another uterine swab was collected at 2 and 4 wk postpartum. Immediately after calving, RP cows had significantly higher LPS levels in uterine lochia (average of 2.24 x 10(4) Endotoxin Units (EU)/mL) as compared to dystocia and healthy postpartum cows (average of 0.10 and 0.26 EU/mL, respectively). However, plasma LPS levels were below the detection limit (<0.036 EU/mL platelet-rich plasma) in all groups of cows. IgG anti-LPS levels in plasma were not significantly different between the 3 groups immediately postpartum (average of 26, 16 and 44 Median Units (MU)/mL) for healthy, dystocia and RP cows, respectively), but they were significantly lower when compared to plasma IgG anti-LPS levels of healthy cows at more than 2 months postpartum (mean 83 MU/mL). High LPS levels in lochia at 1 or 2 days postpartum were significantly related to abnormal cervical discharge, the presence of Escherichia coli, black pigmented gram-negative anaerobes and Clostridium spp. shortly after calving, and Arcanobacterium pyogenes and gram-negative anaerobes in the uterus at 14 days postpartum. These results suggest that the presence of E. coli and LPS (endotoxins) in lochia early postpartum favor the development of uterine infections by A. pyogenes and gram-negative anaerobes later postpartum. LPS were not observed in plasma, suggesting that either they are not absorbed into the blood, or they are efficiently detoxified by IgG anti-LPS or other detoxification mechanisms.
This article was published in Theriogenology
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology