Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Most, M.S.; Yates, D.T. Inflammatory Mediation of Heat Stress-Induced Growth Deficits in Livestock and Its Potential Role as a Target for Nutritional Interventions: A Review. Animals 2021, 11, 3539.


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


Heat stress is detrimental to well-being and growth performance in livestock, and systemic inflammation arising during chronic heat stress contributes to these poor outcomes. Sustained exposure of muscle and other tissues to inflammation can impair the cellular processes that facilitate muscle growth and intramuscular fat deposition, thus reducing carcass quality and yield. Climate change is expected to produce more frequent extreme heat events, increasing the potential impact of heat stress on sustainable livestock production. Feedlot animals are at particularly high risk for heat stress, as confinement limits their ability to seek cooling from the shade, water, or breeze. Economically practical options to circumvent heat stress in feedlot animals are limited, but understanding the mechanistic role of inflammation in heat stress outcomes may provide the basis for treatment strategies to improve well-being and performance. Feedlot animals receive formulated diets daily, which provides an opportunity to administer oral nutraceuticals and other bioactive products to mitigate heat stress-induced inflammation. In this review, we examine the complex associations between heat stress, systemic inflammation, and dysregulated muscle growth in meat animals. We also present evidence for potential nutraceutical and dietary moderators of inflammation and how they might improve the unique pathophysiology of heat stress.