Beta-hydroxybutyrate levels in peripheral blood and ketone bodies supplemented in culture media affect the in vitro chemotaxis of bovine leukocytes

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1999 May;68(2-4):177-86. doi: 10.1016/s0165-2427(99)00017-3.


The role of ketone bodies on chemotactic capacities of leukocytes was characterized in two experiments. Experiment I was performed to investigate the association between serum beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations (BHB) and in vitro chemotaxis of leukocytes. Cows were divided into low-BHB, medium-BHB, and high-BHB ones and classified according to their BHB. Leukocytes from high-BHB cows had a significantly lower chemotactic differential than leukocytes from low-BHB cows (p < 0.01). The effect of adding ketone bodies into in vitro chemotaxis cultures on leukocytes chemotaxis was studied in Experiment II. Either individual or a combination of commercial ketone bodies - sodium salts of BHB (BHBA), lithium salt of acetoacetate (ACAC), and acetone (Acetone) - were diluted in culture media and divided into eight concentrations corresponding to concentrations of bovine subclinical and clinical ketosis. For leukocytes from medium- and high-BHB cow, the chemotactic indexes of leukocytes were reduced by ACAC and Acetone. Chemotactic differentials of cultures with ACAC and acetone supplementation from both sources of leukocytes were significantly lower than that of the control culture (p < 0.05). For leukocytes from high-BHB cows, chemotactic indexes were suppressed in a ketone-body environment. In conclusion, leukocytes from naturally-occurring ketotic cows have lower chemotactic differentials than those from non-ketotic cows, and a chemotactic capacity indicated by a chemotactic differential is impaired when leukocytes migrate in an environment with ketone bodies in vitro.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / blood*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood*
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / physiology*
  • Culture Media
  • Female
  • Immunologic Techniques / veterinary
  • Ketone Bodies / blood*
  • Ketosis / blood
  • Ketosis / veterinary*
  • Leukocytes / physiology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Culture Media
  • Ketone Bodies
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid