Bovine Endometritis and the Inflammatory Peripheral Cholinergic System

  • Lucas Carvalho SiqueiraEmail author
  • Bruna Favaretto
  • Bibiana Teló Moraes
  • Vanessa Oliveira de Freitas
  • Rodrigo Carvalho Bicalho
  • Roberta Cattaneo Horn
  • Daniele Mariath Bassuino
  • Patricia Wolkmer


Endometritis is an inflammation of the endometrium associated with bacterial infection. The pathogenesis of endometritis in cows is still not completely understood. The combined analysis of the markers of inflammation and oxidative stress has contributed to a better understanding of disease mechanisms, but is still unexplored in uterine disorders. Moreover, research provides evidence about an important role of the vagus nerve in regulating the innate immune function through the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway in response to bacterial infections. This new pathway has demonstrated a critical role in controlling the inflammatory system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the activity of cholinesterase in total blood, lymphocytes, and serum of dairy cows with clinical and subclinical endometritis. Sixty-one Holstein cows, between 30 and 45 days in milk, were classified into 3 groups of animals: presenting clinical endometritis (n = 22), subclinical endometritis (n = 17), and healthy (n = 22). Mean leukocyte counts did not differ among groups, but the neutrophil number was significantly higher in cows with clinical endometritis than those in healthy animals. Also, serum concentration of interleukin-1beta (pg/mL) was significantly higher in cows with endometritis. The activity of acetylcholinesterase in blood and lymphocytes increased in both groups with endometritis. Animals with endometritis presented an increase in lipid peroxidation, but the antioxidant enzyme activity (catalase levels) was higher in endometritis groups than in normal cows. In conclusion, the inflammatory process of clinical and subclinical endometritis leads to systemic lipid peroxidation despite the compensatory increase of the antioxidant enzyme. These data also provide evidence of an important role of the cholinergic pathway in regulating dairy cows with clinical and subclinical endometritis.


Uterine disease Dairy cows Acetylcholinesterase Butyrylcholinesterase 



We are thankful to the Secretary of Economic Development, Science and Technology of the state of Rio Grande do Sul (SDECT-RS) and the Center of Technological Innovation of Alto Jacuí (Inovatec).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that they have no conflict of interest to declare. The procedure was approved by the Animal Welfare Committee of UNICRUZ, number 07/2017, in accordance to Brazilian laws and ethical principles published by the Colégio Brasileiro de Experimentação Animal (COBEA).

All authors agreed with the subscription of the article.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Cruz Alta (UNICRUZ)Cruz AltaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary MedicineCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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