Uterine and vaginal bacterial community diversity prior to artificial insemination between pregnant and nonpregnant postpartum cows1.
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The present study evaluated the bovine vaginal and uterine bacterial community diversity and its relationship to fertility. Postpartum beef cows (n = 68) were synchronized beginning on day -21 and ending with timed artificial insemination (TAI) on day 0. Pregnancy was diagnosed 30 d after TAI. Uterine and vaginal flushes were collected on day -21, -9, and -2 for bacterial DNA extraction to sequence the V1 to V3 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene. Results indicated a decrease in the number of bacterial species over time in the uterus of resulting pregnant and nonpregnant beef cows (P < 0.0001). Principal coordinate analyses (PCoA) depicted clustering of samples, indicating closely related bacterial communities, by day in the uterus and vagina (P < 0.0001). At day -2, uterine samples from nonpregnant and pregnant animals clustered separately (P < 0.0001), with nonpregnant animal samples clustering tightly together. Overall, the current study suggests the shift in the reproductive bacterial communities' diversity and phylogenetic relationship leading up to the time of breeding may contribute to successful pregnancy establishment.