Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Heat stress in livestock

With the approach of summer, a timely study was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology on whether inflammation plays a role in heat stress-related complications in muscles. Heat stress is a major problem in the livestock industry. In the United States alone it is reportedly associated with a loss of approximately $158 billion annually in the swine industry. To cool off, swine seek shade and often mud baths (which mimic sweating by helping the animals cool off through evaporation). Despite well-known complications associated with heat stress, like stroke, the effects in skeletal muscle are less understood. The research team exposed swine to either 75.2 degrees F (24degC) or 98.6 degrees F (37degC) for 12 hours. What they found was increased inflammation in skeletal muscles from heat-stressed animals.

Thus strategies to help keep animals and humans cool are clearly important in hot weather.

References S Ganesan, C Reynolds, K Hollinger, SC Pearce, NK Gabler, LH Baumgard, RP Rhoads, JT Selsby. Twelve hours of heat stress induces inflammatory signaling in porcine skeletal muscle. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00494.2015

Categories: Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Livestock, Climate Change, Diet and Exercise, Environment, Sharks

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