Differences in uterine and serum metabolome associated with metritis in dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 2023 May;106(5):3525-3536. doi: 10.3168/jds.2022-22552. Epub 2023 Mar 7.


Objectives were to evaluate differences in the uterine and serum metabolomes associated with metritis in dairy cows. Vaginal discharge was evaluated using a Metricheck device (Simcro) at 5, 7, and 11 d in milk (DIM; herd 1) or 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 DIM (herd 2). Cows with reddish or brownish, watery, and fetid discharge were diagnosed with metritis (n = 24). Cows with metritis were paired with herdmates without metritis (i.e., clear mucous vaginal discharge or clear lochia with ≤50% of pus) based on DIM and parity (n = 24). Day of metritis diagnosis was considered study d 0. All cows diagnosed with metritis received antimicrobial therapy. The metabolome of uterine lavage collected on d 0 and 5, and serum samples collected on d 0 were evaluated using untargeted gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Normalized data were subjected to multivariate canonical analysis of population using the MultBiplotR and MixOmics packages in R Studio. Univariate analyses including t-test, principal component analyses, partial least squares discriminant analyses, and pathway analyses were conducted using Metaboanalyst. The uterine metabolome differed between cows with and without metritis on d 0. Differences in the uterine metabolome associated with metritis on d 0 were related to the metabolism of butanoate, amino acids (i.e., glycine, serine, threonine, alanine, aspartate, and glutamate), glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. No differences in the serum metabolome were observed between cows diagnosed with metritis and counterparts without metritis on d 0. Similarly, no differences in uterine metabolome were observed between cows with metritis and counterparts not diagnosed with metritis on d 5. These results indicate that the establishment of metritis in dairy cows is associated with local disturbances in amino acid, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism in the uterus. The lack of differences in the uterine metabolome on d 5 indicates that processes implicated with the disease are reestablished by d 5 after diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: metabolome; uterine disease; uterine health.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Endometritis* / diagnosis
  • Endometritis* / veterinary
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Metabolome
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease* / veterinary
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterus
  • Vaginal Discharge* / veterinary