Genetic variations in the SPP1 promoter affect gene expression and the level of osteopontin secretion into bovine milk.

Dudemaine, P.-L., Thibault, C., Alain, K., and Bissonnette, N. (2014). "Genetic variations in the SPP1 promoter affect gene expression and the level of osteopontin secretion into bovine milk.", Animal Genetics, 45(5), pp. 629-640. doi : 10.1111/age.12176  Access to full text

Abstract

Osteopontin (OPN) is now recognized as an important cytokine and extracellular integrin-binding protein at the crossroads of inflammation and homeostasis. In a previous study, we found that OPN gene (SPP1) polymorphisms are associated with milk performance traits and somatic cell score (SCS), a parameter used to estimate the genetic value of udder health in dairy cattle. In this study, we assessed whether the genetic variations had an impact on SPP1 promoter activity, immune response and the level of OPN secreted into milk. The influence of DNA polymorphisms on the promoter activity of SPP1 was confirmed in vitro. To measure the impact of the genetic variations on OPN secretion into milk, we measured OPN levels in both plasma and milk throughout lactation. Cows were grouped by the OPN haplotypes associated with a high (H2 × H3) or low (H1 × H4) SCS. For both H2 × H3 and H1 × H4, the OPN level in plasma remained low throughout lactation, although the concentration in the milk of H1 × H4 cows increased more in late lactation. Moreover, the macrophages of H1 × H4 cows expressed a lower SPP1 and proinflammatory IL6 in response to infection. Regarding the immune cell response, cows with the genetic potential to secrete higher OPN levels during late lactation had macrophages expressing fewer proinflammatory cytokines, a situation that might explain the genetic association with low somatic cells. Although OPN's favorable roles during late lactation remain to be elucidated, the tissue remodeling properties associated with OPN may be beneficial for reducing the incidence of infection during the transition period in lactating cows.

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