Expression analysis of candidate genes for chronic subclinical mastitis in Norwegian Red cattle
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Chronic subclinical mastitis (SCM) is characterized by a long-term inflammation in the udder with high somatic cell count (SCC) in milk. Previously, several novel alternative SCM traits for Norwegian Red (NR) cattle have been defined to improve breeding strategies against chronic SCM. Quantitative trait loci and candidate genes affecting chronic SCM in NR have been identified. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression profiles of 14 selected candidate genes (RAD17, ACOT2, ACOT4, FOS, CXCL1, CXCL8, CCNB1, CDK7, TGFB3, SEL1L, STAT4, C6, GLI2, and SLC18A2). Twenty healthy NR cows with official genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) for lactation average somatic cell scores (LSCS) were selected. Ten cows had high GEBV for LSCS (cows with low probability to have high SCC in milk during lactation) and 10 cows had low GEBV for LSCS (cows with high probability of having high SCC in milk). We isolated RNA from unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from these. Two out of the 14 analyzed genes showed significantly different results between groups. The group with high GEBV for LSCS displayed significantly higher expression of the CXCL1 gene than the low GEBV group. Grouping by lactation stage revealed significant differential expression of the FOS gene, with higher expression in early lactation (2–3 mo after calving) compared with late lactation (7–8 mo after calving). In addition, flow cytometry was performed on the peripheral blood nonuclear cells samples to analyze if number and type of isolated cells influenced the gene expression in the groups. The results in the current study provide identified genes that can be considered as possible candidate genes for chronic SCM in NR cows.