• 28. The effect of phenotypically ranking beef cattle for residual methane output on daily methane emissions, intensity and animal productivity

      Smith, Paul E.; Waters, Sinéad M.; Kenny, David A.; Kirwan, Stuart F.; Conroy, Stephen; Kelly, Alan K.; European Union; 16/RD/ERAGAS/1RUMENPREDICT-ROI2017; 818368 (Elsevier BV, 2021-04)
      Beef cattle ranked as having low residual methane output had lower emissions intensity and similar overall productive performance as their high emissions ranking contemporaries. The concept of residual methane output is proposed as an appropriate trait to more equitably identify animals on the basis of low emissions beef production
    • Adding value to cull cow beef

      O'Donovan, Michael; Minchin, William; Buckley, Frank; Kenny, David A.; Shalloo, Laurence (Teagasc, 01/08/2009)
      This project addressed the prospects of increasing the value of cull cow beef and examined the potential of a number of different management and dietary strategies. In Ireland, the national cow herd contributes 350,000 animals to total beef production annually, which represents 22% of all cattle slaughtered (DAF, 2007). A dominant feature of beef production in Ireland is the disposal of cows from the dairy and beef industries, the time of year at which culling occurs influences the number of cows available for slaughter. Suitability of a cow for slaughter is generally not a consideration for dairy or beef farmers.
    • A catalogue of validated single nucleotide polymorphisms in bovine orthologs of mammalian imprinted genes and associations with beef production traits

      Magee, David A; Berkowicz, Erik W; Sikora, Klaudia M; Berry, Donagh; Park, Stephen D. E.; Kelly, Alan K; Sweeney, Torres; Kenny, David A.; Evans, R. D.; Wickham, Brian W.; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2010-06)
      Genetic (or ‘genomic’) imprinting, a feature of approximately 100 mammalian genes, results in monoallelic expression from one of the two parentally inherited chromosomes. To date, most studies have been directed on imprinted genes in murine or human models; however, there is burgeoning interest in the effects of imprinted genes in domestic livestock species. In particular, attention has focused on imprinted genes that influence foetal growth and development and that are associated with several economically important production traits in cattle, sheep and pigs. We have re-sequenced regions in 20 candidate bovine imprinted genes in order to validate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may influence important production traits in cattle. Putative SNPs detected via re-sequencing were subsequently re-formatted for high-throughput SNP genotyping in 185 cattle samples comprising 138 performance-tested European Bos taurus (all Limousin bulls), 29 African B. taurus and 18 Indian B. indicus samples. Analysis of the resulting genotypic data identified 117 validated SNPs. Preliminary genotype–phenotype association analyses using 83 SNPs that were polymorphic in the Limousin samples with minor allele frequencies >0.05 revealed significant associations between two candidate bovine imprinted genes and a range of important beef production traits: average daily gain, average feed intake, live weight, feed conversion ratio, residual feed intake and residual gain. These genes were the Ras proteinspecific guanine nucleotide releasing factor gene ( RASGRF1) and the zinc finger, imprinted 2 gene ( ZIM2). Despite the relatively small sample size used in these analyses, the observed associations with production traits are supported by the purported biological function of the RASGRF1 and ZIM2 gene products. These results support the hypothesis that imprinted genes contribute significantly to important complex production traits in cattle. Furthermore, these SNPs may be usefully incorporated into future marker-assisted and genomic selection breeding schemes.
    • Characterisation of the Whole Blood mRNA Transcriptome in Holstein-Friesian and Jersey Calves in Response to Gradual Weaning

      Johnston, Dayle; Earley, Bernadette; Cormican, Paul; Kenny, David A.; McCabe, Matthew; Kelly, Alan K; McGee, Mark; Waters, Sinead M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; European Union; et al. (PLOS, 2016-08-01)
      Weaning of dairy calves is an early life husbandry management practice which involves the changeover from a liquid to a solid feed based diet. The objectives of the study were to use RNA-seq technology to examine the effect of (i) breed and (ii) gradual weaning, on the whole blood mRNA transcriptome of artificially reared Holstein-Friesian and Jersey calves. The calves were gradually weaned over 14 days (day (d) -13 to d 0) and mRNA transcription was examined one day before gradual weaning was initiated (d -14), one day after weaning (d 1), and 8 days after weaning (d 8). On d -14, 550 genes were differentially expressed between Holstein-Friesian and Jersey calves, while there were 490 differentially expressed genes (DEG) identified on d 1, and 411 DEG detected eight days after weaning (P < 0.05; FDR < 0.1). No genes were differentially expressed within breed, in response to gradual weaning (P > 0.05). The pathways, gene ontology terms, and biological functions consistently over-represented among the DEG between Holstein-Friesian and Jersey were associated with the immune response and immune cell signalling, specifically chemotaxis. Decreased transcription of several cytokines, chemokines, immunoglobulin-like genes, phagocytosis-promoting receptors and g-protein coupled receptors suggests decreased monocyte, natural killer cell, and T lymphocyte, chemotaxis and activation in Jersey compared to Holstein-Friesian calves. Knowledge of breed-specific immune responses could facilitate health management practices better tailored towards specific disease sensitivities of Holstein-Friesian and Jersey calves. Gradual weaning did not compromise the welfare of artificially-reared dairy calves, evidenced by the lack of alterations in the expression of any genes in response to gradual weaning.
    • Correction to: Residual feed intake phenotype and gender affect the expression of key genes of the lipogenesis pathway in subcutaneous adipose tissue of beef cattle

      McKenna, Clare; Porter, Richard K; Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; McGee, Mark; Kenny, David A.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2018-11-07)
      In the original publication of this article [1], some errors in Table 4 need to be corrected as below:
    • Dietary supplementation with fish oil and safflower oil, during the finishing period, alters brisket muscle fatty acid profile and n-6/n-3 ratio but not carcass traits of dairy beef bulls

      Byrne, C. J.; Fair, S.; Dick, J. R.; Lonergan, P.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/116 (American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, 2021-08)
      Objective: With increases in the global population, there is a need to identify strategies that increase beef output while maintaining or improving health benefits of beef products. Studies have demonstrated that there are many benefits to human health in response to reducing the dietary n-6 to n-3 ratio. The aim of this study was to characterize the carcass characteristics and brisket muscle fatty acid profile of young dairy bred bulls following dietary supplementation with n-6 or n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Material and Methods: Holstein-Friesian (n = 43) and Jersey (n = 7) bulls with a mean ± s.e.m. age and bodyweight of 420.1 ± 5.86 days and 382.0 ± 8.94 kg, respectively, were offered a cereal based concentrate diet on an ad libitum basis, fortified with one of three lipid supplements: control (CTL; no supplementary lipid), n-6 PUFA safflower (SO), or n-3 PUFA enriched fish oil (FO). Bulls were individually offered their respective diet for 12 weeks prior to slaughter. Carcass weight, conformation and fat score were recorded at slaughter for all animals, while brisket muscle was collected from 26 randomly selected bulls and lipid profile analysed using GC. Results and Discussion: Total n-3 PUFA concentration was greater for FO than either SO or CTL diets (P < 0.05). Although there was no difference in the muscle total n-6 concentration between diets (P = 0.52), n-6 to n-3 ratio was 3.2 and 3.9 times lower for FO (P < 0.001) than either CTL or SO diets, respectively. Total intake of n-3 PUFA accounted for 72% of the variation in the n-6 to n-3 ratio. Despite the differences in fatty acid profiles, there was no effect of dietary lipid supplementation on carcass weight (P = 0.63), conformation (P = 0.79), or fat score (P = 0.84. Implications and Applications: Beef producers can feed n-6 and/or n-3 PUFA enriched diets that would result in beef having potential health benefits and greater branding potential.
    • Differences in the expression of genes involved in the somatotropic axis in divergent strains of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows during early and mid lactation

      McCarthy, Sean D.; Butler, Stephen; Patton, Joe; Daly, Mairead; Morris, Dermot G.; Kenny, David A.; Waters, Sinead M.; National Development Plan Ireland (Elsevier Inc. and American Dairy Science Association, 2009-10)
      Differences in genetic selection criteria for dairy cows internationally have led to divergence in the Holstein-Friesian breed. The objective of this study was to compare hepatic expression of genes of the somatotropic axis in the North American Holstein-Friesian and the New Zealand Holstein-Friesian strains of dairy cow at early and mid lactation. Mature cows of both the North American Holstein-Friesian (n = 10) and New Zealand Holstein-Friesian (n = 10) strains were selected. Liver tissue was collected by percutaneous punch biopsy from all cows at 35 and 140 d postpartum, representing early and mid lactation, respectively. Total RNA was extracted and the hepatic expression of genes involved in the control of the somatotropic axis was examined. Abundance of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 mRNA was greater in the New Zealand strain, concomitant with a tendency for increased expression of acid-labile subunit mRNA. Across strains, mRNA abundance of IGF-binding protein-1, IGF-binding protein-2, and growth hormone receptor 1A decreased from d 35 to 140 postpartum, whereas expression of IGF-1 and acid-labile subunit tended to increase. Abundance of suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 mRNA was increased at d 140 postpartum. Both the strain of Holstein-Friesian cow and the stage of lactation influenced expression of genes controlling the somatotropic axis in hepatic tissue.
    • The effect of breed and diet type on the global transcriptome of hepatic tissue in beef cattle divergent for feed efficiency

      Higgins, Marc G; Kenny, David A.; Fitzsimons, Claire; Blackshields, Gordon; Coyle, Séan; McKenna, Clare; McGee, Mark; Morris, Derek W; Waters, Sinead M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Biomed Central, 2019-06-26)
      Background Feed efficiency is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production, which can be measured in terms of residual feed intake (RFI). Cattle selected for low-RFI (feed efficient) have similar production levels but decreased feed intake, while also emitting less methane. RFI is difficult and expensive to measure and is not widely adopted in beef production systems. However, development of DNA-based biomarkers for RFI may facilitate its adoption in genomic-assisted breeding programmes. Cattle have been shown to re-rank in terms of RFI across diets and age, while also RFI varies by breed. Therefore, we used RNA-Seq technology to investigate the hepatic transcriptome of RFI-divergent Charolais (CH) and Holstein-Friesian (HF) steers across three dietary phases to identify genes and biological pathways associated with RFI regardless of diet or breed. Results Residual feed intake was measured during a high-concentrate phase, a zero-grazed grass phase and a final high-concentrate phase. In total, 322 and 33 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified across all diets for CH and HF steers, respectively. Three genes, GADD45G, HP and MID1IP1, were differentially expressed in CH when both the high-concentrate zero-grazed grass diet were offered. Two canonical pathways were enriched across all diets for CH steers. These canonical pathways were related to immune function. Conclusions The absence of common differentially expressed genes across all dietary phases and breeds in this study supports previous reports of the re-ranking of animals in terms of RFI when offered differing diets over their lifetime. However, we have identified biological processes such as the immune response and lipid metabolism as potentially associated with RFI divergence emphasising the previously reported roles of these biological processes with respect to RFI.
    • The effect of breed and diet type on the global transcriptome of hepatic tissue in beef cattle divergent for feed efficiency

      Higgins, Marc G.; Kenny, David A.; Fitzsimons, Claire; Blackshields, Gordon; Coyle, Séan; McKenna, Clare; McGee, Mark; Morris, Derek W.; Waters, Sinead M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Biomed Central, 2019-06-26)
      Background: Feed efficiency is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production, which can be measured in terms of residual feed intake (RFI). Cattle selected for low-RFI (feed efficient) have similar production levels but decreased feed intake, while also emitting less methane. RFI is difficult and expensive to measure and is not widely adopted in beef production systems. However, development of DNA-based biomarkers for RFI may facilitate its adoption in genomic-assisted breeding programmes. Cattle have been shown to re-rank in terms of RFI across diets and age, while also RFI varies by breed. Therefore, we used RNA-Seq technology to investigate the hepatic transcriptome of RFI-divergent Charolais (CH) and Holstein-Friesian (HF) steers across three dietary phases to identify genes and biological pathways associated with RFI regardless of diet or breed. Results: Residual feed intake was measured during a high-concentrate phase, a zero-grazed grass phase and a final high-concentrate phase. In total, 322 and 33 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified across all diets for CH and HF steers, respectively. Three genes, GADD45G, HP and MID1IP1, were differentially expressed in CH when both the high-concentrate zero-grazed grass diet were offered. Two canonical pathways were enriched across all diets for CH steers. These canonical pathways were related to immune function. Conclusions: The absence of common differentially expressed genes across all dietary phases and breeds in this study supports previous reports of the re-ranking of animals in terms of RFI when offered differing diets over their lifetime. However, we have identified biological processes such as the immune response and lipid metabolism as potentially associated with RFI divergence emphasising the previously reported roles of these biological processes with respect to RFI.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of bovine jejunal epithelium

      Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K.; Kenny, David A.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/GEN2447 (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2018-03-19)
      Compensatory growth (CG), an accelerated growth phenomenon which occurs following a period of dietary restriction is utilised worldwide in animal production systems as a management practise to lower feed costs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the contribution of jejunal epithelial to CG in cattle through transcriptional profiling following a period of dietary restriction as well as subsequent re-alimentation induced CG. Sixty Holstein Friesian bulls were separated into two groups; RES and ADLIB, with 30 animals in each. RES animals were offered a restricted diet for 125 days (Period 1) followed by ad libitum feeding for 55 days (Period 2). ADLIB animals had ad libitum access to feed across both periods 1 and 2. At the end of each period, 15 animals from each treatment group were slaughtered, jejunal epithelium collected and RNAseq analysis performed. Animals that were previously diet restricted underwent CG, gaining 1.8 times the rate of their non-restricted counterparts. Twenty-four genes were differentially expressed in RES compared to ADLIB animals at the end of Period 1, with only one gene, GSTA1, differentially expressed between the two groups at the end of Period 2. When analysed within treatment (RES, Period 2 v Period 1), 31 genes were differentially expressed between diet restricted and animals undergoing CG. Dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation were associated with altered expression of genes involved in digestion and metabolism as well as those involved in cellular division and growth. Compensatory growth was also associated with greater expression of genes involved in cellular protection and detoxification in jejunal epithelium. This study highlights some of the molecular mechanisms regulating the response to dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation induced CG in cattle; however the gene expression results suggest that most of the CG in jejunal epithelium had occurred by day 55 of re-alimentation.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of bovine jejunal epithelium

      Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K.; Kenny, David A.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/ RFP/GEN2447 (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2018-03-19)
      Compensatory growth (CG), an accelerated growth phenomenon which occurs following a period of dietary restriction is utilised worldwide in animal production systems as a management practise to lower feed costs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the contribution of jejunal epithelial to CG in cattle through transcriptional profiling following a period of dietary restriction as well as subsequent re-alimentation induced CG. Sixty Holstein Friesian bulls were separated into two groups; RES and ADLIB, with 30 animals in each. RES animals were offered a restricted diet for 125 days (Period 1) followed by ad libitum feeding for 55 days (Period 2). ADLIB animals had ad libitum access to feed across both periods 1 and 2. At the end of each period, 15 animals from each treatment group were slaughtered, jejunal epithelium collected and RNAseq analysis performed. Animals that were previously diet restricted underwent CG, gaining 1.8 times the rate of their non-restricted counterparts. Twenty-four genes were differentially expressed in RES compared to ADLIB animals at the end of Period 1, with only one gene, GSTA1, differentially expressed between the two groups at the end of Period 2. When analysed within treatment (RES, Period 2 v Period 1), 31 genes were differentially expressed between diet restricted and animals undergoing CG. Dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation were associated with altered expression of genes involved in digestion and metabolism as well as those involved in cellular division and growth. Compensatory growth was also associated with greater expression of genes involved in cellular protection and detoxification in jejunal epithelium. This study highlights some of the molecular mechanisms regulating the response to dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation induced CG in cattle; however the gene expression results suggest that most of the CG in jejunal epithelium had occurred by day 55 of re-alimentation.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of bovine ruminal epithelium

      Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K; O'Shea, Emma; Kenny, David A.; Science Foundation Ireland; RFP/GEN2447 (PLOS, 2017-05-17)
      Compensatory growth (CG) is utilised worldwide in beef production systems as a management approach to reduce feed costs. However the underlying biology regulating the expression of CG remains to be fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation induced CG on the global gene expression profile of ruminal epithelial papillae. Holstein Friesian bulls (n = 60) were assigned to one of two groups: restricted feed allowance (RES; n = 30) for 125 days (Period 1) followed by ad libitum access to feed for 55 days (Period 2) or (ii) ad libitum access to feed throughout (ADLIB; n = 30). At the end of each period, 15 animals from each treatment were slaughtered and rumen papillae harvested. mRNA was isolated from all papillae samples collected. cDNA libraries were then prepared and sequenced. Resultant reads were subsequently analysed bioinformatically and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) are defined as having a Benjamini-Hochberg P value of <0.05. During re-alimentation in Period 2, RES animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of their ADLIB contemporary animals in Period 2 (P < 0.001). At the end of Period 1, 64 DEGs were identified between RES and ADLIB, with only one DEG identified at the end of Period 2. When analysed within RES treatment (RES, Period 2 v Period 1), 411 DEGs were evident. Genes identified as differentially expressed in response to both dietary restriction and subsequent CG included those involved in processes such as cellular interactions and transport, protein folding and gene expression, as well as immune response. This study provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of CG in rumen papillae of cattle; however the results suggest that the role of the ruminal epithelium in supporting overall animal CG may have declined by day 55 of re-alimentation.
    • Effect of Dietary Restriction and Subsequent Re-Alimentation on the Transcriptional Profile of Bovine Skeletal Muscle

      Keogh, Kate; Kenny, David A.; Cormican, Paul; McCabe, Matthew; Kelly, Alan K; Waters, Sinead M.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/GEN/2447 (PLOS, 2016-02-12)
      Compensatory growth (CG), an accelerated growth phenomenon which occurs following a period of dietary restriction is exploited worldwide in animal production systems as a method to lower feed costs. However the molecular mechanisms regulated CG expression remain to be elucidated fully. This study aimed to uncover the underlying biology regulating CG in cattle, through an examination of skeletal muscle transcriptional profiles utilising next generation mRNA sequencing technology. Twenty Holstein Friesian bulls were fed either a restricted diet for 125 days, with a target growth rate of 0.6 kg/day (Period 1), following which they were allowed feed ad libitum for a further 55 days (Period 2) or fed ad libitum for the entirety of the trial. M. longissimus dorsi biopsies were harvested from all bulls on days 120 and 15 of periods 1 and 2 respectively and RNAseq analysis was performed. During realimentation in Period 2, previously restricted animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of the ad libitum control animals. Compensating animals were also more feed efficient during re-alimentation and compensated for 48% of their previous dietary restriction. 1,430 and 940 genes were identified as significantly differentially expressed (Benjamini Hochberg adjusted P < 0.1) in periods 1 and 2 respectively. Additionally, 2,237 genes were differentially expressed in animals undergoing CG relative to dietary restriction. Dietary restriction in Period 1 was associated with altered expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and energy production. CG expression in Period 2 occurred in association with greater expression of genes involved in cellular function and organisation. This study highlights some of the molecular mechanisms regulating CG in cattle. Differentially expressed genes identified are potential candidate genes for the identification of biomarkers for CG and feed efficiency, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of hepatic tissue in cattle

      Keogh, Kate; Kenny, David A.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K; Waters, Sinead M.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/GEN2447 (Biomed Central, 2016-03-17)
      Background Compensatory growth (CG) is an accelerated growth phenomenon observed in animals upon re-alimentation following a period of dietary restriction. It is typically utilised in livestock systems to reduce feed costs during periods of reduced feed availability. The biochemical mechanisms controlling this phenomenon, however, are yet to be elucidated. This study aimed to uncover the molecular mechanisms regulating the hepatic expression of CG in cattle, utilising RNAseq. RNAseq was performed on hepatic tissue of bulls following 125 days of dietary restriction (RES) and again following 55 days of subsequent re-alimentation during which the animals exhibited significant CG. The data were compared with those of control animals offered the same diet on an ad libitum basis throughout (ADLIB). Elucidation of the molecular control of CG may yield critical information on genes and pathways which could be targeted as putative molecular biomarkers for the selection of animals with improved CG potential. Results Following a period of differential feeding, body-weight and liver weight were 161 and 4 kg higher, respectively, for ADLIB compared with RES animals. At this time RNAseq analysis of liver tissue revealed 1352 significantly differentially expressed genes (DEG) between the two treatments. DEGs indicated down-regulation of processes including nutrient transport, cell division and proliferation in RES. In addition, protein synthesis genes were up-regulated in RES following a period of restricted feeding. The subsequent 55 days of ad libitum feeding for both groups resulted in the body-weight difference reduced to 84 kg, with no difference in liver weight between treatment groups. At the end of 55 days of unrestricted feeding, 49 genes were differentially expressed between animals undergoing CG and their continuously fed counterparts. In particular, hepatic expression of cell proliferation and growth genes were greater in animals undergoing CG. Conclusions Greater expression of cell cycle and cell proliferation genes during CG was associated with a 100 % recovery of liver weight during re-alimentation. Additionally, an apparent up-regulation in capacity for cellular protein synthesis during restricted feeding may contribute to and sustain CG during re-alimentation. DEGs identified are potential candidate genes for the identification of biomarkers for CG, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes.
    • Effect of Early Calf-Hood Nutrition on the Transcriptional Regulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular axis in Holstein-Friesian Bull Calves

      English, A. M.; Byrne, C. J.; Cormican, Paul; Waters, Sinead M.; Fair, S.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Irish Research Council; 11/S/116; GOIPG/2013/1391 (Springer Nature, 2018-11-08)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of early calf-hood nutrition on the transcriptomic profile of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary and testes in Holstein-Friesian bulls. Holstein-Friesian bull calves with a mean (±S.D.) age and bodyweight of 19 (±8.2) days and 47.5 (±5.3) kg, respectively, were offered a high (n = 10) or low (n = 10) plane of nutrition in order to achieve an overall growth rate of 1.2 and 0.5 kg/day. At 126 (±3) days of age, calves were euthanized, hypothalamus (arcuate region), anterior pituitary and testicular parenchyma samples were harvested and RNAseq analysis was performed. There were 0, 49 and 1,346 genes differentially expressed in the arcuate nucleus, anterior pituitary and testicular tissue of bull calves on the low relative to the high plane of nutrition, respectively (P < 0.05; False Discovery Rate <0.05). Cell cycle processes in the anterior pituitary were down regulated in the low relative to the high plane of nutrition; there was no differential expression of genes related to reproductive processes. Gene expression involved in cholesterol and androgen biosynthesis in the testes were down regulated in animals on the low plane of nutrition. This study provides insight into the effect of early life plane of nutrition on the regulation of the HPT axis.
    • Effect of early calf-hood nutrition on the transcriptomic profile of subcutaneous adipose tissue in Holstein-Friesian bulls

      English, Anne-Marie; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Byrne, Colin J; Fair, Seán; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Irish Research Council; 11/S/116; GOIPG/2013/1391 (Biomed Central, 2018-04-24)
      Background Adipose tissue is a major endocrine organ and is thought to play a central role in the metabolic control of reproductive function in cattle. Plane of nutrition during early life has been shown to influence the timing of puberty in both male and female cattle, though the exact biological mechanisms involved are currently unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of early calf-hood nutrition on the transcriptomic profile of subcutaneous adipose tissue in Holstein-Friesian bulls to identify possible downstream effects on reproductive physiology. Results Holstein-Friesian bull calves with a mean (±S.D.) age and bodyweight of 19 (±8.2) days and 47.5 (±5.3) kg, respectively, were assigned to either a high (n = 10) or low (n = 10) plane of nutrition. Calves were fed in order to achieve an overall growth rate of 1.08 and 0.57 kg/day for the high and low plane of nutrition treatments, respectively. At 126 days of age, the bulls were euthanized, subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were harvested and RNAseq analysis was performed. There were 674 genes differentially expressed in adipose tissue of calves on the low compared with the high plane of nutrition (P < 0.05; FDR < 0.05; fold change > 2.0). High plane of nutrition positively altered the expression of genes across an array of putative biological processes but the most dominant cellular processes affected were cellular energy production and branched chain amino acid degradation. A high plane of nutrition caused upregulation of genes such as leptin (LEP) and adiponectin (ADIPOQ), which are known to directly affect reproductive function. Conclusions These results provide an insight into the effect of augmenting the plane of nutrition of Holstein-Friesian bull calves in the prepubertal period on the transcriptome of adipose tissue.
    • Effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin treatment during a progesterone-based timed artificial insemination program on reproductive performance in seasonal-calving lactating dairy cows

      Randi, Federico; Sánchez, José Maria; Herlihy, Mary M.; Valenza, Alessio; Kenny, David A.; Butler, Stephen; Lonergan, P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S515; 13S528 (Elsevier, 2018-08-23)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of progesterone (P4)-based timed artificial insemination (TAI) programs on fertility in seasonal-calving, pasture-based dairy herds. A total of 1,421 lactating dairy cows on 4 spring-calving farms were stratified based on days in milk (DIM) and parity and randomly allocated to 1 of 3 treatments: (1) control: no hormonal treatment; cows inseminated at detected estrus; (2) P4-Ovsynch: cows received a 7-d P4-releasing intravaginal device (PRID Delta; CEVA Santé Animale, Libourne, France) with 100 μg of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog (Ovarelin; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID insertion, a 25-mg injection of PGF2α (Enzaprost; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal, GnRH at 56 h after device removal and TAI 16 h later; (3) P4-Ovsynch+eCG: the same as P4-Ovsynch, but cows received 500 IU of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG; Syncrostim; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal. At 10 d before mating start date (MSD), all cows that were ≥35 DIM were examined by transrectal ultrasound to assess presence or absence of a corpus luteum; body condition score (BCS) was also recorded. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed by transrectal ultrasonography 30 to 35 d after insemination. Overall pregnancy/AI (P/AI) was not different between groups (50.9, 49.8, and 46.3% for control, P4-Ovsynch, and P4-Ovsynch+eCG, respectively) but the 21-d pregnancy rate was increased by the use of synchronization (35.0, 51.7, and 47.2%, respectively). Compared with the control group, synchronization significantly reduced the interval from MSD to conception (34.6, 23.0, and 26.5 d, respectively) and consequently reduced the average days open (98.0, 86.0, and 89.0 d). Across all treatment groups, DIM at the start of synchronization affected P/AI (42.3, 49.5, and 53.9% for <60, 60–80, and >80 DIM, respectively), but neither parity (46.5, 50.4, and 48.4% for parity 1, 2, and ≥3, respectively) nor BCS (44.0, 49.4, and 58.6% for ≤2.50, 2.75–3.25, and ≥3.50, respectively) affected the likelihood of P/AI. Two-way interactions between treatment and DIM, parity, or BCS were not detected. In conclusion, the use of TAI accelerated pregnancy establishment in cows in a pasture-based system by reducing days open, but eCG administration at PRID removal did not affect P/AI.
    • Effect of Exposure to Seminal Plasma Through Natural Mating in Cattle on Conceptus Length and Gene Expression

      Mateo-Otero, Yentel; Sánchez, José María; Recuero, Sandra; Bagés-Arnal, Sandra; McDonald, Michael; Kenny, David A.; Yeste, Marc; Lonergan, Pat; Fernandez-Fuertes, Beatriz; European Union; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-05-12)
      A growing body of evidence suggests that paternal factors have an impact on offspring development. These studies have been mainly carried out in mice, where seminal plasma (SP) has been shown to regulate endometrial gene expression and impact embryo development and subsequent offspring health. In cattle, infusion of SP into the uterus also induces changes in endometrial gene expression, however, evidence for an effect of SP on early embryo development is lacking. In addition, during natural mating, the bull ejaculates in the vagina; hence, it is not clear whether any SP reaches the uterus in this species. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether SP exposure leads to improved early embryo survival and developmental rates in cattle. To this end, Day 7 in vitro produced blastocysts were transferred to heifers (12–15 per heifer) previously mated to vasectomized bulls (n = 13 heifers) or left unmated (n = 12 heifers; control). At Day 14, heifers were slaughtered, and conceptuses were recovered to assess size, morphology and expression of candidate genes involved in different developmental pathways. Additionally, CL volume at Day 7, and weight and volume of CL at Day 14 were recorded. No effect of SP on CL volume and weight not on conceptus recovery rate was observed. However, filamentous conceptuses recovered from SP-exposed heifers were longer in comparison to the control group and differed in expression of CALM1, CITED1, DLD, HNRNPDL, PTGS2, and TGFB3. In conclusion, data indicate that female exposure to SP during natural mating can affect conceptus development in cattle. This is probably achieved through modulation of the female reproductive environment at the time of mating. Keywords: seminal plasma, embryo development, corpus luteum
    • Effect of genotype on duodenal expression of nutrient transporter genes in dairy cows

      Waters, Sinead M.; Keogh, Kate; Buckley, Frank; Kenny, David A. (Biomed Central, 2013-12-09)
      Background Studies have shown clear differences between dairy breeds in their feed intake and production efficiencies. The duodenum is critical in the coordination of digestion and absorption of nutrients. This study examined gene transcript abundance of important classes of nutrient transporters in the duodenum of non lactating dairy cows of different feed efficiency potential, namely Holstein-Friesian (HF), Jersey (JE) and their F1 hybrid. Duodenal epithelial tissue was collected at slaughter and stored at -80°C. Total RNA was extracted from tissue and reverse transcribed to generate cDNA. Gene expression of the following transporters, namely nucleoside; amino acid; sugar; mineral; and lipid transporters was measured using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Data were statistically analysed using mixed models ANOVA in SAS. Orthogonal contrasts were used to test for potential heterotic effects and spearman correlation coefficients calculated to determine potential associations amongst gene expression values and production efficiency variables. Results While there were no direct effects of genotype on expression values for any of the genes examined, there was evidence for a heterotic effect (P < 0.05) on ABCG8, in the form of increased expression in the F1 genotype compared to either of the two parent breeds. Additionally, a tendency for increased expression of the amino acid transporters, SLC3A1 (P = 0.072), SLC3A2 (P = 0.081) and SLC6A14 (P = 0.072) was also evident in the F1 genotype. A negative (P < 0.05) association was identified between the expression of the glucose transporter gene SLC5A1 and total lactational milk solids yield, corrected for body weight. Positive correlations (P < 0.05) were also observed between the expression values of genes involved in common transporter roles. Conclusion This study suggests that differences in the expression of sterol and amino acid transporters in the duodenum could contribute towards the documented differences in feed efficiency between HF, JE and their F1 hybrid. Furthermore, positive associations between the expression of genes involved in common transporter roles suggest that these may be co-regulated. The study identifies potential candidates for investigation of genetic variants regulating nutrient transport and absorption in the duodenum in dairy cows, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes.
    • Effect of supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and/or β-glucans on performance, feeding behaviour and immune status of Holstein Friesian bull calves during the pre- and post-weaning periods

      McDonnell, Ruairi P; O'Doherty, John V.; Earley, Bernadette; Clarke, Anne Marie; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 14/IA/2548 (Biomed Central, 2019-01-29)
      Background Previous research in both calves and other species has suggested n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and β-glucans may have positive effects on immune function. This experiment measured performance, behaviour, metabolite and immunological responses to pre-weaning supplementation of dairy bull calves with n-3 PUFA in the form of fish oil and β-glucans derived from seaweed extract. 44 Holstein Friesian bull calves, aged 13.7 ± 2.5 d and weighing 48.0 ± 5.8 kg were artificially reared using an electronic feeding system. Each calf was offered 5 L (120 g/L) per day of milk replacer (MR) and assigned to one of four treatments included in the MR, (1) Control (CON); (2) 40 g n-3 PUFA per day (FO); (3) 1 g β-glucans per day (GL) and (4) 40 g n-3 PUFA per day & 1 g/d β-glucans (FOGL) in a 2 × 2 factorial design. Milk replacer and concentrate was offered from d 0–62 (pre-weaning), while concentrate provision continued for a further 31 d post-weaning period. Individual daily feed intake and feeding behaviour was recorded throughout, while bodyweight and blood analyte data were collected at regular intervals. Results Overall mean concentrate DMI from d 0–93 was 1.39, 1.27, 1.00 and 0.72 kg/d for CON, FO, GL and FOGL calves, respectively (SEM = 0.037; P < 0.0001). Calves supplemented with GL were significantly lighter (P < 0.0001) at both weaning (d 62) and turnout to pasture (d 93) than un-supplemented calves, with a similar effect (P < 0.0001) evident for calves receiving FO compared to un-supplemented contemporaries. Supplementation with GL reduced the number of unrewarded visits where milk was not consumed (P < 0.0001) while supplementation with FO increased mean drinking speed (P < 0.0001). Supplementation with GL resulted in greater concentrations of haptoglobin (P = 0.034), greater serum osmolality (P = 0.021) and lower lymphocyte levels (P = 0.027). In addition, cells from GL supplemented calves exhibited a lower response than un-supplemented contemporaries to both Phytohaemagglutinin A stimulated IFN-γ (P = 0.019) and Concanavalin A stimulated IFN-γ (P = 0.012) following in vitro challenges. Conclusions Pre-weaning supplementation of bull calves with either n-3 PUFA or β-glucan resulted in reduced voluntary feed intake of concentrate and consequently poorer pre-weaning calf performance. There was no evidence for any beneficial effect of either supplementation strategy on calves’ immune responses.