• Blood immune transcriptome analysis of artificially fed dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves from birth to 7 days of age

      Surlis, Carla; Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; Keogh, Kate; Cormican, Paul; Blackshields, Gordon; Tiernan, Katie; Dunn, Amanda; Morrison, Steven; Arguello, A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-10-18)
      Neonatal calves possess a very immature and naïve immune system and are reliant on the intake of maternal colostrum for passive transfer of immunoglobulins. Variation in colostrum management of beef and dairy calves is thought to affect early immune development. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine changes in gene expression and investigate molecular pathways involved in the immune-competence development of neonatal Holstein dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves using next generation RNA-sequencing during the first week of life. Jugular whole blood samples were collected from Holstein (H) dairy calves (n = 8) artificially fed 5% B.W. colostrum, and from beef calves which were the progenies of Charolais-Limousin (CL; n = 7) and Limousin-Friesian beef suckler cows (LF; n = 7), for subsequent RNA isolation. In dairy calves, there was a surge in pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression possibly due to the stress of separation from the dam. LF calves exhibited early signs of humoral immune development with observed increases in the expression genes coding for Ig receptors, which was not evident in the other breeds by 7 days of age. Immune and health related DEGs identified as upregulated in beef calves are prospective contender genes for the classification of biomarkers for immune-competence development, and will contribute towards a greater understanding of the development of an immune response in neonatal calves.
    • Effect of suckler cow vaccination against glycoprotein E (gE)-negative bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) on passive immunity and physiological response to subsequent bovine respiratory disease vaccination of their progeny

      Earley, Bernadette; Tiernan, Katie; Duffy, Catherine; Dunn, Amanda; Waters, Sinead M.; Morrison, Steven; McGee, Mark; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/131 (Elsevier, 2018-01-10)
      The study objectives were: 1) to characterise the development of immunocompetence in beef suckler calves from birth to three months of age, and 2) to trace glycoprotein E (gE)-negative bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) antibodies from dam to calf and subsequent vaccination against pneumonia. Thirty multiparous beef suckler, spring-calving cows, consisting of two genotypes were involved; Limousin × Friesian (LF) and Charolais × Limousin (CL). Cows were immunised against the inactivated antigen strain of BoHV-1 (gE- (IBR marker vaccine) at day − 84 and received a booster at day − 56 relative to the expected calving date (d 0). Calves were immunised at 14 and 42 days of age against PI-3 virus, BRSV and Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica serotype A1 using a commercial vaccine administered subcutaneously. Additionally, calves were immunised against BoHV-1 at 42 days of age, using 1 dose of a live commercial vaccine administered intranasally. Blood samples were collected from all calves (n = 30) via jugular venipuncture at birth, prior to colostrum feeding (0 h), at 12 h (h), 24 h, 72 h and 168 h after the initial feeding of colostrum, and at d 7, 14, 28, 42, 56 and 84 post birth. The mean ratio of gE negative antibodies circulating in the blood of LF and CL dams pre-partum scored negative to gE ab (S/N ≥ 0.70). Antibody levels of BoHV-1 (wild type (wt)) peaked at 12 h post-birth in calves and declined thereafter, as the maternal antibodies decayed. There was no difference in BoHV-1 and BRSV antibody levels in calves post vaccination.
    • An observational study on passive immunity in Irish suckler beef and dairy calves: Tests for failure of passive transfer of immunity and associations with health and performance

      Todd, C. G.; McGee, Mark; Tiernan, Katie; Crosson, Paul; O’Riordan, Edward G.; McClure, J.; Lorenz, Ingrid; Earley, Bernadette; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/131 (Elsevier, 2018-07-25)
      The study objectives were to: 1) evaluate the diagnostic performance of passive immunity tests for classification of failure of passive transfer (FPT) risk, based on their relationships with calf health and performance, and 2) describe the epidemiology of morbidity and mortality in suckler beef and dairy calves under Irish conditions. A total of 1392 suckler beef calves (n = 111 farms) and 2090 dairy calves (84 farms) were included in this observational study. Blood samples were collected by jugular venipuncture. Serum samples were analysed for total IgG concentration using an ELISA assay, total protein concentration by clinical analyser (TP – CA), globulin concentration, zinc sulphate turbidity (ZST) units, total solids percentage by Brix refractometer (TS – BRIX), and total protein concentration by digital refractometer (TP – DR). Crude and cause-specific morbidity, all-cause mortality, and standardised 205-day body weight (BW) were determined. Generalised linear mixed models were used to evaluate associations between suckler beef and dairy calves for morbidity, mortality, growth and passive immunity. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to determine optimal test cut-offs for classification of health and growth outcomes. Overall, 20% of suckler beef and 30% of dairy calves were treated for at least one disease event by 6 mo. of age. Suckler beef calves had greater odds of bovine respiratory disease (BRD; odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.8, 1.2–6.5, P = 0.01), navel infection (5.1, 1.9–13.2, P < 0.001), and joint infection/lameness (3.2, 1.3–7.8, P = 0.01) during the first 6 mo. of life than dairy calves. In addition, from birth to 6 mo. of age, suckler beef calves had greater rates of navel infection (incidence rate ratio (IRR), 95% CI: 3.3, 1.3–8.4, P = 0.01), but decreased rates of diarrhoea (0.9, 0.2–0.9, P = 0.03) compared to dairy calves. Optimal test cut-offs for classification of morbidity and mortality outcomes in suckler beef calves ranged from 8 to 9 mg/ml ELISA, 56 to 61 g/l TP – CA, 26 to 40 g/l globulin, 12 to 18 ZST units, 8.4% TS – BRIX, and 5.3 to 6.3 g/dl TP – DR. Optimal test cut-offs for classification of morbidity and growth outcomes in dairy calves ranged from 10 to 12 mg/ml ELISA, 57 to 60 g/l TP – CA, 29 to 34 g/l globulin, 19 ZST units, 7.8 to 8.4% TS – BRIX, and 5.7 to 5.9 g/dl TP – DR.