Effects of dietary energy source and level and injection of tilmicosin phosphate on immune function in lipopolysaccharide-challenged beef steers

R. R. Reuter, J. A. Carroll, J. W. Dailey, B. J. Cook, M. L. Galyean

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25 Scopus citations


Twenty-four Angus x Hereford crossbred steers (247 kg BW; SE = 2.4 kg) were used in a completely random design to evaluate the effect of energy source and level with or without antibiotic administration on measures of immune function. Steers were fed 1 of 3 dietary treatments: a 70% concentrate diet ad libitum (70AL), a 30% concentrate diet ad libitum (30AL), and a 70% concentrate diet offered in an amount calculated to provide NEg intake equal to the 30AL treatment (70RES). Half the steers in each dietary treatment received a s.c. injection of tilmicosin phosphate (ANTI; 1 mL/30 kg of BW); the other half received an equal volume of saline s.c. (SAL). Steers were offered the treatment diets for 28 d before and were administered the ANTI or SAL injections 2 d before indwelling catheters were placed in the jugular vein and 2.0 μg/kg of BW of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was administered i.v. Blood serum was collected at 30-min intervals from -2 to 6 h and at 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h relative to the LPS challenge. Increased energy intake (70AL) increased (P < 0.04) DMI, ADG, and rectal temperature (RT) after the challenge compared with the 70RES treatment. The 30AL treatment increased the maximum concentrations and area under the response curve of the proinflammatory cytokines (PIC) interferon-Y, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-6 (P ≤ 0.05) compared with the average of the 70AL and 70RES treatments. Decreased energy intake (70RES vs. 70AL) increased IL-6 (P ≤ 0.003) but did not significantly increase interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α (P ≥ 0.14) after LPS administration. Tilmicosin administration decreased the time to attain maximal RT (P = 0.01) by 1 h without altering the peak RT (P = 0.85), and tilmicosin interacted with energy intake to increase prechallenge PIC in 70RES vs. 70AL (P ≤ 0.05). Results indicate that increased PIC response, presumably resulting from a combination of decreased energy intake and from direct effects of roughage, may be a mode of action for the slight decrease in morbidity that often occurs when newly received, stressed calves are fed roughage-based receiving diets. Tilmicosin phosphate might have immunomodulatory capacity beyond its direct effects on pathogenic bacteria, and these effects could interact with dietary energy intake in cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1976
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Beef cattle
  • Energy
  • Immune function
  • Tilmicosin phosphate


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