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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Department of Animal Science Food and Nutrition—DIANA, Nutrigenomics and Proteomics Research Centre—PRONUTRIGEN, and Biodiversity and Ancient DNA Research Centre, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
2
Istituto di Biologia e BiotecnologiaAgraria, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 20133 Milan, Italy
3
Department of Ecological and Biological sciences DEB, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
4
Department of Agrifood, Environmental and Animal Science–University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
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Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest systems DIBAF, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
6
Institute of Biomembranes, Bioenergetics and Molecular Biotechnologies, IBIOM, CNR, 70126 Bari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(8), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080850
Received: 26 May 2020 / Revised: 10 July 2020 / Accepted: 22 July 2020 / Published: 25 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: cortisol secretion; DNA methylation; bisulfite sequencing; gene expression; dairy cattle health cortisol secretion; DNA methylation; bisulfite sequencing; gene expression; dairy cattle health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Del Corvo, M.; Bongiorni, S.; Stefanon, B.; Sgorlon, S.; Valentini, A.; Ajmone Marsan, P.; Chillemi, G. Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk. Genes 2020, 11, 850. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080850

AMA Style

Del Corvo M, Bongiorni S, Stefanon B, Sgorlon S, Valentini A, Ajmone Marsan P, Chillemi G. Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk. Genes. 2020; 11(8):850. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080850

Chicago/Turabian Style

Del Corvo, Marcello; Bongiorni, Silvia; Stefanon, Bruno; Sgorlon, Sandy; Valentini, Alessio; Ajmone Marsan, Paolo; Chillemi, Giovanni. 2020. "Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk" Genes 11, no. 8: 850. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080850

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