Elevated plasma cortisol during induced and spontaneous hypocalcemia in ruminants

J Dairy Sci. 1982 Dec;65(12):2332-7. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(82)82505-8.


The relationship of cortisol in blood plasma with plasma calcium and phosphorus was studied from 3 days before to 2.5 days after calving in 12 dairy cows (third or more parity). Cows were in three groups: 1) paretic (displayed hypocalcemic and lateral recumbency), 2) nonparetic (plasma calcium at least 8.0 mg/100 ml), and 3) borderline (plasma calcium less than 8.0 mg/100 ml). Cortisol concentrations from 0 to 1.5 days postpartum reflected the state of calcium stress of the groups, paretic more than borderline and borderline more than nonparetic. Phosphorus was lower from 0 to 1 day postpartum in paretic cows. Calcium and phosphorus were negatively correlated (within cow) with cortisol (-.53, -.37). In experiments with goats, cortisol was released in response to hypocalcemia and displayed no activity in initiating an onset of hypocalcemia when given exogenously. Also, the observation that cortisol-treated goats responded less severely with calcium depression and recovered faster from induced hypocalcemia by ethylene glycol-bis (beta-amino-ethyl ester) N,N'-tetraacetic acid infusions suggests cortisol may aid the animal in recovering from hypocalcemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood*
  • Egtazic Acid / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Goats*
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Hydrocortisone / pharmacology
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / pharmacology
  • Hypocalcemia / blood
  • Hypocalcemia / chemically induced
  • Hypocalcemia / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Parturient Paresis / blood*
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Pregnancy


  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Phosphorus
  • Egtazic Acid
  • Calcium
  • alfacalcidol
  • Hydrocortisone