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Objective—To describe time-dependent changes in plasma concentrations of 3-methylindole (3MI) and blood concentrations of 3-methyleneindolenine (3MEIN)-adduct in feedlot cattle.

Animals—64 yearling steers.

Procedures—Steers were assigned to 2 groups (32 steers/group). During the first 8 weeks, blood samples were collected from group 1 before the morning ration was fed, whereas samples from group 2 were collected 2 to 3 hours after the ration was fed. Blood samples were collected from all steers approximately 4 times/wk for 3 weeks and 3 times/wk for the subsequent 5 weeks. Samples were collected at the same time for all steers for an additional 10 weeks. Plasma samples were analyzed for 3MI concentrations. Blood samples collected from cattle in group 2 during the first 8 weeks were analyzed for 3MEINadduct concentrations.

Results—Mean blood concentration of 3MEINadduct increased to a maximum value on day 33 (0.80 U/μg of protein) and then decreased to a minimum on day 54 0.40 U/μg of protein). Plasma 3MI concentrations initially decreased and remained low until after day 54. Group-1 cattle had lower plasma 3MI concentrations, compared with concentrations for group-2 cattle. Blood 3MEIN-adduct concentrations and plasma 3MI concentrations were not associated with deleterious effects on weight gains.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Blood 3MEIN-adduct concentrations peaked during the period of greatest risk for development of bovine respiratory disease complex. Conversely, plasma 3MI concentrations decreased during the same period. Animal-to-animal variation in metabolic capacity to convert 3MI to 3MEIN may be of more importance than differences in plasma 3MI concentration. Am J Vet Res (2002;63:591–597).

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the effect of feeding aspirin and supplemental vitamin E on growth performance, lung lesions, plasma concentrations of 3-methylindole (3MI), and 3-methyleneindolenine (3MEIN)-adduct concentrations in blood and pulmonary tissues of feedlot cattle.

Animals—256 crossbred steers; 64 cattle were used in experiment 1 and 192 cattle were used in experiment 2.

Procedures—A 2 × 2 factorial design was used for each experiment. Treatment factors were aspirin (0 or 3 g daily) and vitamin E (200 or 1,500 IU daily). Steers were housed in pens (8 steers/pen). Steers were slaughtered on days 59 and 138 for experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Lungs were grossly evaluated. Plasma 3MI concentration was determined, and 3MEIN-adduct concentrations were measured in blood and pulmonary tissues.

Results—Treatment was not associated with improvement or adverse effects on weight gain, drymatter intake, or feed efficiency in experiment 2. In experiment 1, 36 of 63 (57.1%) steers had lung lesions. Lesions were not associated with treatment or concentrations of 3MI and 3MEIN-adduct. Plasma 3MI concentration and concentrations of 3MEINadduct in blood and pulmonary tissues were 3.11 µg/mL, 0.51 U/µg of protein, and 0.49 U/µg of protein, respectively. Aspirin was associated with increased blood concentrations of 3MEIN-adduct for diets that did not contain supplemental vitamin E.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Differences in performance of feedlot steers were not associated with treatment diet. It is possible that concurrent exposure of feedlot cattle to other factors typically associated with development of respiratory tract disease would affect these findings. (Am J Vet Res 2002:63:1641–1647)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research