DNA methylation patterns and gene expression from amygdala tissue of mature Brahman cows exposed to prenatal stress. Academic Article uri icon


  • Prenatal stress can alter postnatal performance and temperament of cattle. These phenotypic effects may result from changes in gene expression caused by stress-induced epigenetic alterations. Specifically, shifts in gene expression caused by DNA methylation within the brain's amygdala can result in altered behavior because it regulates fear, stress response and aggression in mammals Thus, the objective of this experiment was to identify DNA methylation and gene expression differences in the amygdala tissue of 5-year-old prenatally stressed (PNS) Brahman cows compared to control cows. Pregnant Brahman cows (n = 48) were transported for 2-h periods at 60 5, 80 5, 100 5, 120 5, and 140 5days of gestation. A non-transported group (n = 48) were controls (Control). Amygdala tissue was harvested from 6 PNS and 8 Control cows at 5years of age. Overall methylation of gene body regions, promoter regions, and cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) islands were compared between the two groups. In total, 202 genes, 134 promoter regions, and 133 CpG islands exhibited differential methylation (FDR 0.15). Following comparison of gene expression in the amygdala between the PNS and Control cows, 2 differentially expressed genes were identified (FDR 0.15). The minimal differences observed could be the result of natural changes of DNA methylation and gene expression as an animal ages, or because this degree of transportation stress was not severe enough to cause lasting effects on the offspring. A younger age may be a more appropriate time to assess methylation and gene expression differences produced by prenatal stress.

published proceedings

  • Front Genet

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Baker, E. C., Earnhardt, A. L., Cilkiz, K. Z., Collins, H. C., Littlejohn, B. P., Cardoso, R. C., ... Riley, D. G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Baker, Emilie C||Earnhardt, Audrey L||Cilkiz, Kubra Z||Collins, Haley C||Littlejohn, Brittni P||Cardoso, Rodolfo C||Ghaffari, Noushin||Long, Charles R||Riggs, Penny K||Randel, Ronald D||Welsh, Thomas H||Riley, David G

publication date

  • January 2022