Subclinical endometritis in dairy cattle is associated with distinct mRNA expression patterns in blood and endometrium

PLoS One. 2019 Aug 2;14(8):e0220244. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220244. eCollection 2019.


Cattle with subclinical endometritis (SCE) are sub-fertile and diagnosing subclinical uterine disease remains a challenge. The hypothesis for this study was that endometrial inflammation is reflected in mRNA expression patterns of peripheral blood leucocytes. Transcriptome profiles were evaluated in healthy cows and in cows with SCE using circulating white blood cells (WBC) and endometrial biopsy samples collected from the same animals at 45-55 days postpartum. Bioinformatic analyses of microarray-based transcriptional data identified gene profiles associated with distinct biological functions in circulating WBC and endometrium. In circulating WBC, SCE promotes a pro-inflammatory environment, whereas functions related to tissue remodeling are also affected in the endometrium. Nineteen differentially expressed genes associated with SCE were common to both circulating WBC and the endometrium. Among these genes, transcript abundance of immune factors C3, C2, LTF, PF4 and TRAPPC13 were up-regulated in SCE cows at 45-55 days postpartum. Moreover, mRNA expression of C3, CXCL8, LTF, TLR2 and TRAPPC13 was temporally regulated during the postpartum period in circulating WBC of healthy cows compared with SCE cows. This observation might indicate an advantageous modulation of the immune system in healthy animals. The transcript abundance of these genes represents a potential source of indicators for postpartum uterine health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood*
  • Cattle Diseases / genetics*
  • Dairying*
  • Endometritis / blood
  • Endometritis / genetics
  • Endometritis / veterinary*
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / blood
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcriptome*


  • RNA, Messenger