Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Dr. Glen Aiken

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Barrett


Twenty-four steers were grazed on endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum)-infected [[Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh]; E+] tall fescue (TF) and exposed to ergot alkaloids for an 106-d grazing period. Cattle were removed from pasture, placed in dry lots, and fed a non-toxic diet to evaluate changes in vascular contraction relative to time-off E+ TF pasture. Lateral saphenous veins (SV) were biopsied from steers at 0-, 21-, 42-, and 63-d off TF pasture and from 6 control steers at 0- and 63-d off bermudagrass (BG) pasture. To evaluate contractile response, biopsied SV were exposed to increasing concentrations of ergotamine in a multimyograph. Cross-sectional scans of the caudal artery were taken using color Doppler ultrasonography on 0-, 8-, 15-, 21-, 29-, 36-, 42-, and 45-d to determine artery luminal area. Contractility of SV was less for TF than BG steers on d 0, but was similar between the two treatments by d 63. Luminal areas of the caudal arteries in E+ TF steers relaxed over time and were similar to BG steers by 36 d off pastures. Results indicated that alkaloid-induced vasoconstriction in cattle grazed on E+ TF can be relaxed in 5 to 6 weeks after they are placed on non-toxic diets.