Neospora caninum and coxiella burnetii seropositivity are related to endocrine pattern changes during gestation in lactating dairy cows

I. García-Ispierto, C. Nogareda, J. L. Yániz, S. Almería, D. Martínez-Bello, N. M. de Sousa, J. F. Beckers, F. López-Gatius

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Q fever is a zoonotic infection caused by Coxiella burnetii that is endemic worldwide. Domestic ruminants are a source of infection for humans. Given the suggestion that the bacterium recrudesces during pregnancy in cattle, this study was designed to determine whether C. burnetii infection affects hormonal patterns, such as progesterone, cortisol, pregnancy associated glycoproteins (PAG), and prolactin during gestation in lactating cows. Possible interactions with Neospora caninum were also explored. The study was performed on 58 gestating non-aborting cows. Blood samples for hormone determinations were collected on Days 40, 90, 120, 150, 180, and 210 of gestation. For antibody determinations, blood was collected at day 40 postinsemination and postpartum. By GLM repeated measures analysis of variance, we established the effects of production and reproductive variables as well as Coxiella and Neospora seropositivity related to changes on cortisol, PAG, progesterone, and prolactin levels. Coxiella antibody levels were significantly related to cortisol, PAG, and plasma progesterone concentrations, whereas Neospora seropositivity was linked to plasma progesterone concentrations. The interaction between Coxiella and Neospora seropositivity was correlated with cortisol and plasma progesterone levels, whereas the interaction seropositivity against C. burnetii-plasma cortisol concentration was related to plasma PAG levels. Finally, an effect of lactation number only was observed on plasma prolactin. Our findings suggest that both the N. caninum and C. burnetii infection or the presence of both modify endocrine patterns throughout gestation. Cows seropositive to both, Neospora and Coxiella, showed higher plasma progesterone levels than the remaining animals examined. Seropositivity to C. burnetii was associated with placental damage and diminishing PAG levels throughout the second half of gestation, along with increased plasma cortisol levels on Day 180 of gestation. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-220
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Neosporosis
  • PAG
  • Progesterone
  • Q fever


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