Bacterial taxonomic composition of the postpartum cow uterus and vagina prior to artificial insemination
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The current study characterized the taxonomic composition of the uterine and vaginal bacterial communities during estrous synchronization up to timed artificial insemination (TAI). Postpartum beef cows (n = 68) were subjected to pre-synchronization step 21 d prior to TAI (day -21), followed by an industry standard 7 Day Co-Synch on day -9 and TAI on day 0. Uterine and vaginal flushes were collected on days -21, -9, and -2 of the protocol and pH was immediately recorded. Pregnancy was determined by transrectal ultrasound on day 30. Bacterial DNA was extracted and sequenced targeting the V1 to V3 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA bacterial gene. Results indicated 34 different phyla including 792 different genera present between the uterus and vagina. Many differences in the relative abundance of bacterial phyla and genera occurred between resulting pregnancy statuses and among protocol days (P < 0.05). At day -2, multiple genera were present in >1% abundance of nonpregnant cows but <1% abundance in pregnant cows (P < 0.05). Uterine pH increased in nonpregnant cows but decreased in pregnant cows (P > 0.05). Overall, our study indicates bacterial phyla and genera abundances shift over time and may potentially affect fertility by altering the reproductive tract environment.
author list (cited authors)
Ault, T. B., Clemmons, B. A., Reese, S. T., Dantas, F. G., Franco, G. A., Smith, T., ... Pohler, K. G.