Current bovine pregnancy detection methods are not reliable until at least day 28 post artificial insemination (AI). The bovine estrous cycle is approximately 21 days; consequently, producers miss an opportunity to rebreed at the next estrous event. Therefore, commercial interest exists for the discovery of novel biomarkers of pregnancy which could reliably detect pregnancy status at or before day 21 of pregnancy. The objective of the present study was to use liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to perform a global, label-free, proteomics study on (i) milk whey and (ii) extracellular vesicle (EV) enriched milk whey samples, from day 21 of pregnancy, compared with day 21 of the estrous cycle, in order to identify potential protein biomarkers of early pregnancy. The estrous cycles of 10 dairy cows were synchronized, they went through one (control) estrous cycle and these cows were artificially inseminated during the following estrus. These cows were confirmed pregnant by ultrasound scanning. Milk whey samples were collected on day 21 of the estrous cycle and on day 21 post AI. Milk whey samples and EV enriched milk whey samples were analyzed by LC-MS/MS and subsequent analyzes of the label-free quantitative data was performed in MaxQuant and Perseus. Four proteins (APOB, SPADH1, PLIN2 and LPO) were differentially expressed between the proteomes of milk whey from day 21 of pregnancy and day 21 of the estrous cycle (P < 0.05). Ten proteins (PIGR, PGD, QSOX1, MUC1, SRPRA, MD2, GAPDH, FOLR1, GPRC5B and HHIPL2) were differentially expressed between the proteomes of EV enriched milk whey from day 21 of pregnancy and day 21 of the estrous cycle (P < 0.05). These proteins are potential milk whey biomarkers of early pregnancy.
Johnston, D., Malo Estepa, I., Ebhardt, H. A., Crowe, M. A., & Diskin, M. G. (2018). Differences in the bovine milk whey proteome between early pregnancy and the estrous cycle. Theriogenology, 114, 301–307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2018.04.008