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J Anim Sci. 2009 Oct;87(10):3187-95. doi: 10.2527/jas.2009-1905. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Effects of banding or burdizzo castration of bulls on neutrophil phagocytosis and respiratory burst, CD62-L expression, and serum interleukin-8 concentration.

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Teagasc, Animal Bioscience Research Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland.


The objective was to investigate measures of neutrophil function in response to banding or burdizzo castration of bulls. Thirty-two Holstein-Friesian bulls (14 mo old, 505 +/- 7.8 kg of BW) were assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: 1) sham-handled control (CON); 2) banding castration alone (BAND); 3) burdizzo castration alone (BURD); or 4) cortisol infusion (CORT) as a further control group. For each group on d -14, 8 animals (2 animals/treatment) were tied up in tie stalls (day of treatment = d 0). At -2, 2, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 144 h relative to treatment time, blood samples were collected for analyses of neutrophil phagocytosis and respiratory burst, neutrophil CD62-L expression, and serum IL-8 concentration. Leukocyte counts, phagocytosis activity, and CD62-L expression were similar (P > 0.05) among the 4 treatment groups. The BURD castrates had greater burst activity compared with BAND castrates (P = 0.048) and CON (P = 0.01) at 72 h posttreatment. The BURD castrates had a greater percentage of granulocyte positive leukocytes (Gr%; P < 0.01) at 2 h posttreatment compared with CON and CORT bulls. The BURD castrates had greater (P < 0.05) Gr% compared with BAND, CON, and CORT animals at 24, 48, and 72 h posttreatment. The BURD and BAND castrates had greater Gr% (P < 0.05) compared with CORT bulls at 144 h posttreatment. In general, BAND, BURD, and CORT did not affect serum IL-8 concentration. Banding castration, BURD, and CORT did not induce leukocytosis, whereas BURD induced a modest neutrophilia. Neutrophil functioning in terms of phagocytosis and respiratory burst and serum IL-8 concentration were not compromised by BAND, BURD, and CORT. These findings indicate nonsurgical castration is unlikely to induce a severe acute systemic inflammatory response in terms of neutrophil function.

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