Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk

Paolo Ajmone Marsan, Silvia Bongiorni, Bruno Stefanon, Sandy Sgorlon, Alessio Valentini, Giovanni Chillemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dairy cattle health, wellbeing and productivity are deeply affected by stress. Its influence on metabolism and immune response is well known, but the underlying epigenetic mechanisms require further investigation. In this study, we compared DNA methylation and gene expression signatures between two dairy cattle populations falling in the high- and low-variant tails of the distribution of milk cortisol concentration (MC), a neuroendocrine marker of stress in dairy cows. Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing was used to obtain a methylation map from blood samples of these animals. The high and low groups exhibited similar amounts of methylated CpGs, while we found differences among non-CpG sites. Significant methylation changes were detected in 248 genes. We also identified significant fold differences in the expression of 324 genes. KEGG and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed that genes of both groups act together in several pathways, such as nervous system activity, immune regulatory functions and glucocorticoid metabolism. These preliminary results suggest that, in livestock, cortisol secretion could act as a trigger for epigenetic regulation and that peripheral changes in methylation can provide an insight into central nervous system functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalGenes
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • bisulfite sequencing
  • cortisol secretion
  • dairy cattle health
  • gene expression

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this