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Short communication: Effect of heat stress during the dry period on gene expression in mammary tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells

S. Tao, E.E. Connor, J.W. Bubolz, I.M. Thompson, B.C. do Amaral, M.J. Hayen, G.E. Dahl
Journal of dairy science 2013 v.96 no.1 pp. 378-383
acetyl-CoA carboxylase, barns, biopsy, calving, dairy cows, dry period (lactation), fatty acid metabolism, fatty-acid synthase, free stalls, gene expression, genes, heat stress, hormone receptors, insulin-like growth factor I, insulin-like growth factor II, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, lipoprotein lipase, mammary development, mammary glands, messenger RNA, milk production, mononuclear leukocytes, prolactin, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, sprinklers, tumor necrosis factors
Heat stress (HT) during the dry period compromises mammary gland development, decreases future milk production, and impairs the immune status of dairy cows. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of cooling HT cows during the dry period on gene expression of the mammary gland and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Cows were dried off 46d before their expected calving and assigned to 2 treatments, HT or cooling (CL). Cows in the CL group were cooled with sprinklers and fans whereas HT cows were not. After parturition, all cows were housed in a freestall barn with cooling. The PBMC were isolated at dry-off and at −20, 2, and 20d relative to calving from a subset of cows (HT, n=9; CL, n=10), and mammary biopsies were taken at the same intervals (HT, n=7; CL, n=6) for RNA extraction. Gene expression was assessed using a custom multiplex gene expression assay based on traditional reverse transcription-PCR. Genes involved in prolactin (PRL) signaling [PRL receptor long form, PRL receptor short form, suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)2, SOCS3, IGF2, IGF binding protein 5, and cyclin D1], fatty acid metabolism (acetyl-CoA carboxylase α (ACACA) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL)], and IGF1 were evaluated in mammary tissue, and genes related to fatty acid metabolism [ACACA, fatty acid synthase (FASN), and LPL], cytokine production [IL6, IL8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)], and IGF1 were evaluated in PBMC. No differences were observed in PRL signaling or fatty acid metabolism gene expression in the mammary gland. In PBMC, HT cows had greater mRNA expression of IGF1 and TNF during the transition period relative to CL and upregulated IL8 and downregulated FASN mRNA expression at 2d relative to calving. We conclude that cooling HT cows during the dry period alters expression of genes involved in cytokine production and lipid metabolism in PBMC.