• Blood immune transcriptome analysis of artificially fed dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves from birth to 7 days of age

      Surlis, Carla; Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; Keogh, Kate; Cormican, Paul; Blackshields, Gordon; Tiernan, Katie; Dunn, Amanda; Morrison, Steven; Arguello, A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-10-18)
      Neonatal calves possess a very immature and naïve immune system and are reliant on the intake of maternal colostrum for passive transfer of immunoglobulins. Variation in colostrum management of beef and dairy calves is thought to affect early immune development. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine changes in gene expression and investigate molecular pathways involved in the immune-competence development of neonatal Holstein dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves using next generation RNA-sequencing during the first week of life. Jugular whole blood samples were collected from Holstein (H) dairy calves (n = 8) artificially fed 5% B.W. colostrum, and from beef calves which were the progenies of Charolais-Limousin (CL; n = 7) and Limousin-Friesian beef suckler cows (LF; n = 7), for subsequent RNA isolation. In dairy calves, there was a surge in pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression possibly due to the stress of separation from the dam. LF calves exhibited early signs of humoral immune development with observed increases in the expression genes coding for Ig receptors, which was not evident in the other breeds by 7 days of age. Immune and health related DEGs identified as upregulated in beef calves are prospective contender genes for the classification of biomarkers for immune-competence development, and will contribute towards a greater understanding of the development of an immune response in neonatal calves.
    • Effects of dietary n-3-PUFA supplementation, post-insemination plane of nutrition and pregnancy status on the endometrial transcriptome of beef heifers

      Surlis, Carla; Cormican, Paul; Waters, Sinead M.; Lonergan, Patrick; Keogh, Kate; Doyle, David N.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 06-412 (Springer, 2020-11-27)
      Supplementation of cattle diets with n-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can improve reproductive efficiency. Conversely, short-term fluctuations in feed supply can impact pregnancy establishment. The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of (1) dietary supplementation with n-3-PUFA and (2) post-insemination plane of nutrition on the endometrial transcriptome. Beef crossbred heifers were offered concentrate based diets fortified with n-3-PUFA (PUFA; n = 32) or not (CONT; n = 28) for 30 days prior to breeding at a synchronised oestrous. Following artificial insemination, heifers were allocated within treatment to either a high or low plane of nutrition. Heifers were maintained on these diets for 16 days following which endometrial tissue was harvested at slaughter for subsequent RNAseq analysis. The influence of pregnancy status on the endomentrial transcriptome, within each dietary treatment group, was also examined. Post-insemination diet affected (P < 0.05) the endometrial transcriptome. Specifically, within n-3-PUFA-supplemented heifers, genes involved in embryonic development and mTOR signalling pathways, important in pregnancy establishment, were identified as differentially expressed. Results indicate that dietary supplementation of cattle diets with n-3-PUFA may have a positive effect on the expression of key fertility-related genes and pathways, during the critical window of maternal recognition of pregnancy, particularly where animals are underfed.