Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 575–582 | Cite as

Acute phase proteins in cattle after exposure to complex stress

  • S. R. Lomborg
  • L. R. Nielsen
  • P. M. H. Heegaard
  • S. JacobsenEmail author
Short Communication


Stressors such as weaning, mixing and transportation have been shown to lead to increased blood concentrations of acute phase proteins (APP), including serum amyloid A (SAA) and haptoglobin, in calves. This study was therefore undertaken to assess whether SAA and haptoglobin levels in blood mirror stress in adult cattle. Six clinically healthy Holstein cows and two Holstein heifers were transported for four to six hours to a research facility, where each animal was housed in solitary tie stalls. Blood samples for evaluation of leukocyte counts and serum SAA and haptoglobin concentrations were obtained before (0-sample) and at 8, 24 and 48 hours after the start of transportation. Upon arrival the animals gave the impression of being anxious, and they appeared to have difficulty coping with isolation and with being tied on the slippery floors of the research stable. Serum concentrations of SAA and haptoglobin increased significantly in response to the stressors (P < 0.01 and 0.05 at 48 hours, respectively). Additionally, the animals had transient neutrophilia at 8 and 24 hours (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the results of the study suggest that SAA and haptoglobin may serve as markers of stress in adult cattle.


Acute phase proteins Cattle Haptoglobin Housing Transport Serum amyloid A Stress 



The authors wish to thank the Division of Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare at Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen for housing the animals and helping with the experiments, and the Central Laboratory at Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen for performing laboratory analyses. The Danish Cattle Federation provided funding for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. R. Lomborg
    • 1
  • L. R. Nielsen
    • 1
  • P. M. H. Heegaard
    • 2
  • S. Jacobsen
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Research, National Veterinary InstituteTechnical University of DenmarkCopenhagen VDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenTaastrupDenmark

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