• Cows selected for divergent mastitis susceptibility display a differential liver transcriptome profile after experimental Staphylococcus aureus mammary gland inoculation

      Heimes, A.; Brodhagen, J.; Weikard, R.; Becker, D.; Meyerholz, M. M.; Petzl, W.; Zerbe, H.; Schuberth, H. J.; Hoedemaker, M.; Schmicke, M.; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-07-01)
      Infection and inflammation of the mammary gland, and especially prevention of mastitis, are still major challenges for the dairy industry. Different approaches have been tried to reduce the incidence of mastitis. Genetic selection of cows with lower susceptibility to mastitis promises sustainable success in this regard. Bos taurus autosome (BTA) 18, particularly the region between 43 and 59 Mb, harbors quantitative trait loci (QTL) for somatic cell score, a surrogate trait for mastitis susceptibility. Scrutinizing the molecular bases hereof, we challenged udders from half-sib heifers having inherited either favorable paternal haplotypes for somatic cell score (Q) or unfavorable haplotypes (q) with the Staphylococcus aureus pathogen. RNA sequencing was used for an in-depth analysis of challenge-related alterations in the hepatic transcriptome. Liver exerts highly relevant immune functions aside from being the key metabolic organ. Hence, a holistic approach focusing on the liver enabled us to identify challenge-related and genotype-dependent differentially expressed genes and underlying regulatory networks. In response to the S. aureus challenge, we found that heifers with Q haplotypes displayed more activated immune genes and pathways after S. aureus challenge compared with their q half-sibs. Furthermore, we found a significant enrichment of differentially expressed loci in the genomic target region on BTA18, suggesting the existence of a regionally acting regulatory element with effects on a variety of genes in this region. © 2020 American Dairy Science Association
    • Genetic selection for bovine chromosome 18 haplotypes associated with divergent somatic cell score affects postpartum reproductive and metabolic performance.

      Meyerholz, M M; Rohmeier, L; Eickhoff, T; Hülsebusch, A; Jander, S; Linden, M; Macias, L; Koy, M; Heimes, A; Gorríz-Martín, L; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-11-01)
      The susceptibility of animals to periparturient diseases has a great effect on the economic efficiency of dairy industries, on the frequency of antibiotic treatment, and on animal welfare. The use of selection for breeding cows with reduced susceptibility to diseases offers a sustainable tool to improve dairy cattle farming. Several studies have focused on the association of distinct bovine chromosome 18 genotypes or haplotypes with performance traits. The aim of this study was to test whether selection of Holstein Friesian heifers via SNP genotyping for alternative paternal chromosome 18 haplotypes associated with favorable (Q) or unfavorable (q) somatic cell scores influences postpartum reproductive and metabolic diseases. Thirty-six heifers (18 Q and 18 q) were monitored from 3 wk before calving until necropsy on d 39 (± 4 d) after calving. Health status and rectal temperature were measured daily, and body condition score and body weight were assessed once per week. Blood samples were drawn twice weekly, and levels of insulin, nonesterified fatty acids, insulin-like growth factor-I, growth hormone, and β-hydroxybutyrate were measured. Comparisons between the groups were performed using Fisher's exact test, chi-squared test, and the GLIMMIX procedure in SAS. Results showed that Q-heifers had reduced incidence of metritis compared with q-heifers and were less likely to develop fever. Serum concentrations of β-hydroxybutyrate were lower and insulin-like growth factor-I plasma concentrations were higher in Q- compared with q-heifers. However, the body condition score and withers height were comparable between haplotypes, but weight loss tended to be lower in Q-heifers compared with q-heifers. No differences between the groups were detected concerning retained fetal membranes, uterine involution, or onset of cyclicity. In conclusion, selection of chromosome 18 haplotypes associated with a reduced somatic cell score resulted in a decreased incidence of postpartum reproductive and metabolic diseases in this study. The presented data add to the existing knowledge aimed at avoiding negative consequences of genetic selection strategies in dairy cattle farming. The underlying causal mechanisms modulated by haplotypes in the targeted genomic region and immune competence necessitate further investigation.