Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 410000
Title Gene expression patterns in four brain areas associate with quantitative measure of estrous behavior in dairy cows
Author(s) Kommadath, A.; Woelders, H.; Beerda, B.; Mulder, H.A.; Wit, A.A.C. de; Veerkamp, R.F.; Pas, M.F.W. te; Smits, M.A.
Source BMC Genomics 12 (2011). - ISSN 1471-2164 - 10 p.
Department(s) Livestock Research
Animal Breeding and Genetics
LR - Backoffice
Chair Ethology
LR - Animal Breeding & Genomics
CVI Infection Biology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) mediobasal hypothalamus - sexual receptivity - gonadal-hormones - nervous-system - receptor-beta - oxytocin - amygdala - anxiety - mouse - mice
Abstract Background: The decline noticed in several fertility traits of dairy cattle over the past few decades is of major concern. Understanding of the genomic factors underlying fertility, which could have potential applications to improve fertility, is very limited. Here, we aimed to identify and study those genes that associated with a key fertility trait namely estrous behavior, among genes expressed in four bovine brain areas (hippocampus, amygdala, dorsal hypothalamus and ventral hypothalamus), either at the start of estrous cycle, or at mid cycle, or regardless of the phase of cycle. Results: An average heat score was calculated for each of 28 primiparous cows in which estrous behavior was recorded for at least two consecutive estrous cycles starting from 30 days post-partum. Gene expression was then measured in brain tissue samples collected from these cows, 14 of which were sacrificed at the start of estrus and 14 around mid cycle. For each brain area, gene expression was modeled as a function of the orthogonally transformed average heat score values using a Bayesian hierarchical mixed model. Genes whose expression patterns showed significant linear or quadratic relationships with heat scores were identified. These included genes expected to be related to estrous behavior as they influence states like socio-sexual behavior, anxiety, stress and feeding motivation (OXT, AVP, POMC, MCHR1), but also genes whose association with estrous behavior is novel and warrants further investigation. Conclusions: Several genes were identified whose expression levels in the bovine brain associated with the level of expression of estrous behavior. The genes OXT and AVP play major roles in regulating estrous behavior in dairy cows. Genes related to neurotransmission and neuronal plasticity are also involved in estrous regulation, with several genes and processes expressed in mid-cycle probably contributing to proper expression of estrous behavior in the next estrus. Studying these genes and the processes they control improves our understanding of the genomic regulation of estrous behavior expression.
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