Transcriptional changes in the hypothalamus, pituitary, and mammary gland underlying decreased lactation performance in mice under heat stress.
ABSTRACT: Because of climate change, heat stress (HS) causes more and more impacts on dairy animals to decrease lactation performance. The neuroendocrine system is key in regulating systemic physiological processes and milk synthesis. However, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis response to HS is still unclear. In this study, a group of lactating mice underwent a daily 2-h heat treatment (36°C) for 14 d to explore possible cross-talk between the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and mammary gland under HS. Transcriptome analyses by multitissue RNA-Seq indicated the possible mechanisms of reduced lactation performance in animals under HS. In the hypothalamus, the cAMP signaling pathway was activated to resist neuronal death, and the expression of downstream genes was increased to promote cell survival under HS. Reduced food intake might be caused by down-regulated appetite-related peptide, whereas up-regulated neuropeptide Y acted to attenuate reduced food intake. In pituitary, energy stress from lower food intake might result in reduced secretion of prolactin and growth hormone. Under HS, the mammary gland may undergo hypoxic stress, causing mammary epithelial cell apoptosis. Together, these data showed systemic changes in tissues to accommodate the effects of HS on lactation.-Han, J., Shao, J., Chen, Q., Sun, H., Guan, L., Li, Y., Liu, J., Liu, H. Transcriptional changes in the hypothalamus, pituitary, and mammary gland underlying decreased lactation performance in mice under heat stress.
Project description:During the transition between late gestation and early lactation, dairy cows experience severe metabolic stress due to the high energy and nutrient requirements of the fetus and the mammary gland. Additional thermal stress that occurs with rising temperatures during the ongoing climate change has further adverse implications on energy intake, metabolism and welfare. The thyroid hormone (TH)-mediated cellular signaling has a pivotal role in regulation of body temperature, energy intake and metabolic adaptation to heat. To distinguish between energy intake and heat stress-related effects, Holstein cows were first kept at thermoneutrality at 15°C followed by exposure to heat stress (HS) at 28°C or pair-feeding (PF) at 15°C for 6 days, in late pregnancy and again in early lactation. Herein, we focused on hepatic metabolic changes associated with alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in HS and PF animals. T3 and T4 levels dropped with HS or PF; however, in HS animals, this decline was more pronounced. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels remain unaffected, while plasma cholesterol concentrations were lower in HS than PF animals. Hepatic marker genes for TH action (THRA, DIO1 and PPARGC1) decreased after HS and were lower compared to PF cows but only post-partum. Proteomics data revealed reduced hepatic amino acid catabolism ante-partum and a shift toward activated beta-oxidation and gluconeogenesis but declined oxidative stress defense post-partum. Thus, liver metabolism of HS and PF cows adapts differently to diminished energy intake both ante-partum and post-partum, and a different TH sensitivity is involved in the regulation of catabolic processes.
Project description:Climate changes lead to rising temperatures during summer periods and dramatic economic losses in dairy production. Modern high-yielding dairy cows experience severe metabolic stress during the transition period between late gestation and early lactation to meet the high energy and nutrient requirements of the fetus or the mammary gland, and additional thermal stress during this time has adverse implications on metabolism and welfare. The mechanisms enabling metabolic adaptation to heat apart from the decline in feed intake and milk yield are not fully elucidated yet. To distinguish between feed intake and heat stress related effects, German Holstein dairy cows were first kept at thermoneutral conditions at 15°C followed by exposure to heat-stressed (HS) at 28°C or pair-feeding (PF) at 15°C for 6 days; in late-pregnancy and again in early lactation. Liver and muscle biopsies and plasma samples were taken to assess major metabolic pathway regulation using real-time PCR and Western Blot. The results indicate that during heat stress, late pregnant cows activate Cahill but reduce Cori cycling, prevent increase in skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation, and utilize increased amounts of pyruvate for gluconeogenesis, without altering ureagenesis despite reduced plane of nutrition. These homeorhetic adaptations are employed to reduce endogenous heat production while diverting amino acids to the growing fetus. Metabolic adaptation to heat stress in early lactation involves increased long-chain fatty acid degradation in muscle peroxisomes, allowance for muscle glucose utilization but diminished hepatic use of amino acid-derived pyruvate for gluconeogenesis and reduced peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation and ATP production in liver of HS compared to PF cows in early lactation. Consequently, metabolic adaptation to heat stress and reduced feed intake differ between late pregnancy and early lactation of dairy cows to maintain energy supply for fetus development or milk production simultaneously reducing endogenous heat production.
Project description:Summer temperatures are generally high in Southern China, and cows are likely to suffer a heat stress reaction. Heat stress will have a negative impact on the performance of dairy cows; however, the mechanism by which high temperature affects lactation is not clear. CircRNA is a type of non-coding RNA discovered in recent years, which performs a crucial function in many biological activities. However, the effects of circRNA on lactation function of dairy cows under heat stress is unknown. The present study aimed to explore the expression levels of circRNA in the mammary gland tissue of cows under heat stress. Firstly, we collected blood and milk samples of summer and winter cows and evaluated lactation performance using serum indicators, milk production, and milk composition. Incorporating the calculation of the temperature and humidity index, we conformed the heat stress status of cows in summer. Heat stress increased the concentration of HSP70 and decreased the concentration of SOD and PRL. Heat stress not only reduced milk yield but also affected milk quality, with milk lactose and milk protein decreasing with increased temperature. The analysis of the fatty acid composition in summer milk found significantly reduced concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids, especially long-chain unsaturated fatty acids. Sequencing of the cow's mammary gland transcriptome revealed that compared to the appropriate temperature (ST) group, the heat stress (HS) group had a total of 2204 upregulated and 3501 downregulated transcripts. GO enrichment and KEGG pathway analysis showed that these genes were mainly related to milk fat metabolism. In addition, 19 upregulated and 19 downregulated circRNA candidates were found in response to heat stress. We used Pearson's test to establish the correlation of circRNA-mRNA and identified four pairs of circRNA-miRNA networks between four circRNAs, six miRNAs, and the CD36 gene. In this study, we revealed the possible role of circRNAs in lactation of dairy cows and identified that circRNA-miRNA-mRNA networks might exist in the cow's mammary glands, providing valuable experience for dairy lactation and milk quality.
Project description:Heat stress and mastitis are major economic issues in dairy production. The objective was to test whether goat's mammary gland immune response to E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) could be conditioned by heat stress (HS). Changes in milk composition and milk metabolomics were evaluated after the administration of LPS in mammary glands of dairy goats under thermal-neutral (TN; n?=?4; 15 to 20?°C; 40 to 45% humidity) or HS (n?=?4; 35?°C day, 28?°C night; 40% humidity) conditions. Milk metabolomics were evaluated using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and multivariate analyses were carried out. Heat stress reduced feed intake and milk yield by 28 and 21%, respectively. Mammary treatment with LPS resulted in febrile response that was detectable in TN goats, but was masked by elevated body temperature due to heat load in HS goats. Additionally, LPS increased milk protein and decreased milk lactose, with more marked changes in HS goats. The recruitment of somatic cells in milk after LPS treatment was delayed by HS. Milk metabolomics revealed that citrate increased by HS, whereas choline, phosphocholine, N-acetylcarbohydrates, lactate, and ß-hydroxybutyrate could be considered as putative markers of inflammation with different pattern according to the ambient temperature (i.e. TN vs. HS). In conclusion, changes in milk somatic cells and milk metabolomics indicated that heat stress affected the mammary immune response to simulated infection, which could make dairy animals more vulnerable to mastitis.
Project description:The bovine dry period is a non-lactating period between consecutive lactations characterized by mammary gland involution and redevelopment phases to replace senescent mammary epithelial cells with active cells primed for the next lactation. Dairy cows exposed to heat stress during the dry period experience milk yield reductions between 3-7.5 kg/d in the next lactation, partially attributed to processes associated with mammary cell growth and turnover during the dry period. However, the carry-over impact of dry period heat stress on mammary morphology during lactation has yet to be determined. In the current study, we hypothesized that exposure to heat stress during the dry period would alter alveolar microstructure and cellular turnover (i.e. proliferation and apoptosis) during lactation. Cows were either subjected to heat stress (HT, access to shade; n = 12) or cooling (CL, access to shade, fans, and soakers; n = 12) for a 46 d dry period. Upon calving, all cows were treated similarly with access to cooling for their entire lactation. Six cows per treatment were randomly selected for mammary gland biopsies at 14, 42, and 84 days in milk. Tissues were sectioned and stained for histological analysis. During lactation, HT cows produced 4 kg less colostrum and 3.7 kg less milk compared with CL cows. Lactating mammary gland microstructure was impacted after exposure to dry period heat stress; HT cows had fewer alveoli and a higher proportion of connective tissue in the mammary gland relative to CL cows, however alveolar area was similar between treatments. Rates of mammary epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis were similar between treatment groups. This suggests that heat stress exposure during the dry period leads to reductions in milk yield that could be caused, in part, by a reduction in alveoli number in the lactating mammary gland but not to dynamic alterations in cellular turnover once lactation is established.
Project description:Purpose: Using RNA-seq, this study explored the possible cross-talk between the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and mammary system under heat stress and to understand the biological process using a mice model, which may contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of poor lactation performance under exposure to high ambient temperatures. Overall design: Animals: timed-pregnancy ICR mice, control group (25 °C, 55% ±5% RH) and heat stress group (36 °C, 55% ±5% RH). Temperature: controlled by an artificial climate incubator to expose the cages housing the mice to the experimental temperature (36 °C) and relative humidity (RH: 55% ±5%). Animals were sacrificed immediately after treatment on day 13 for the purpose to study the peak lactation responses to heat stress. The hypothalamus, pituitary and left inguinal (#4) mammary gland of all dams were collected.
Project description:Exposure to intrauterine heat stress during late gestation affects offspring performance into adulthood. However, underlying mechanistic links between thermal insult in fetal life and postnatal outcomes are not completely understood. We examined morphology, DNA methylation, and gene expression of liver and mammary gland for bull calves and heifers that were gestated under maternal conditions of heat stress or cooling (i.e. in utero heat stressed vs. in utero cooled calves). Mammary tissue was harvested from dairy heifers during their first lactation and liver from bull calves at birth. The liver of in utero heat stressed bull calves contained more cells and the mammary glands of in utero heat stressed heifers were comprised of smaller alveoli. We identified more than 1,500 CpG sites differently methylated between maternal treatment groups. These CpGs were associated with approximately 400 genes, which play a role in processes, such as development, innate immune defense, cell signaling, and transcription and translation. We also identified over 100 differentially expressed genes in the mammary gland with similar functions. Interestingly, fifty differentially methylated genes were shared by both bull calf liver and heifer mammary gland. Intrauterine heat stress alters the methylation profile of liver and mammary DNA and programs their morphology in postnatal life, which may contribute to the poorer performance of in utero heat stressed calves.
Project description:The bovine dry period is a dynamic non-lactating phase where the mammary gland undergoes extensive cellular turnover. Utilizing RNA sequencing, we characterized novel genes and pathways involved in this process and determined the impact of dry period heat stress. Mammary tissue was collected before and during the dry period (-3, 3, 7, 14, and 25 days relative to dry-off [day 0]) from heat-stressed (HT, n?=?6) or cooled (CL, n?=?6) late-gestation Holstein cows. We identified 3,315 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between late lactation and early involution, and 880 DEGs later in the involution process. DEGs, pathways, and upstream regulators during early involution support the downregulation of functions such as anabolism and milk component synthesis, and upregulation of cell death, cytoskeleton degradation, and immune response. The impact of environmental heat stress was less significant, yet genes, pathways, and upstream regulators involved in processes such as ductal branching morphogenesis, cell death, immune function, and protection against tissue stress were identified. Our research advances understanding of the mammary gland transcriptome during the dry period, and under heat stress insult. Individual genes, pathways, and upstream regulators highlighted in this study point towards potential targets for dry period manipulation and mitigation of the negative consequences of heat stress on mammary function.
Project description:Exposure to intrauterine heat stress during late gestation affects offspring performance into adulthood. However, underlying mechanistic links between thermal insult in fetal life and postnatal outcomes are not completely understood. Utilizing RNA Sequencing, this study characterized the mammary gland transcriptome of heifers that were gestated under maternal conditions of heat stress or cooling, i.e., in utero heat stressed (HT) vs. in utero cooled (CL). Mammary tissues were collected from three HT and three CL heifers during their first lactation. Overall design: Six heifers (all born in 2014) gestated under maternal conditions of heat stress (HT, dams had access to shade) or cooling (CL, dams had access to shade, fans and soakers) were used for this study. These six heifers (HT = 3 and CL = 3) were exposed to the maternal treatment through the intrauterine environment during the last 6-7 weeks of fetal development. All the heifers were managed under identical conditions from birth through their first lactation in summer 2016. Mammary gland biopsies were collected on day 21 of the first lactation, coinciding with the rising milk yield phase of the lactation cycle. Mammary tissue samples were subjected to RNA extraction, library generation, and subsequent sequencing.
Project description:Exposure to intrauterine heat stress during late gestation affects offspring performance into adulthood. However, underlying mechanistic links between thermal insult in fetal life and postnatal outcomes are not completely understood. Utilizing Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing, this study evaluated DNA methylation of liver and mammary gland of bull calves and heifers that were gestated under maternal conditions of heat stress or cooling, i.e., in utero heat stressed (HT) vs. in utero cooled (CL). Liver samples from bull calves (CT = 5 and HT = 4) were collected at birth while mammary gland samples from heifers (CT = 3 and HT = 3) were collected during their first lactation. Overall design: Nine bull calves and six heifers gestated under maternal conditions of heat stress (HT, dams had access to shade) or cooling (CL, dams had access to shade, fans and soakers) were used for this study. Both bull calves (HT = 4 and CL = 5) and heifers (HT = 3 and CL = 3) were exposed to the maternal treatment through the intrauterine environment during the last 6-7 weeks of fetal development. Liver samples were collect from bull calves inmediately after birth. Heifers were managed under identical conditions from birth through their first lactation and mammary gland samples were collected on day 21 of the first lactation, coinciding with the rising milk yield phase of the lactation cycle. Liver and mammary gland samples were subjected to DNA extraction and subsequent reduced representation bisulfite sequencing.