A contributing factor to declining fertility in dairy cows is an activated inflammatory system associated with uterine infection. Detecting uterine disease using biomarkers may allow earlier diagnosis and intervention with resultant improvements in fertility. Exosomes are known to participate in intercellular communication, paracrine, and endocrine signaling. Exosomes carry a cargo of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids that represent specific cellular sources. Prostaglandins are lipids that are critical determinants of bovine fertility. In this study exosomes were isolated from the plasma of cows before (d 0) and during (d 10) the study in healthy animals or those with an induced uterine infection in a 2 × 2 factorial design. Exosomes were characterized for size and number (nanoparticle tracking analysis), exosomal marker expression (Western blot), and morphology (transmission electron microscopy). No significant differences were observed in exosome size or number. The abundance of exosome-enriched markers was confirmed in noninfected and infected animals. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the morphology of the exosomes. These exosomes were co-incubated with bovine endometrial epithelial and stromal cells. Exosomes from d-10-infected animal plasma decreased PGF2α production in endometrial epithelial but not stromal cells. For future research, the identification of effectors in the cargo may provide a useful basis for early diagnosis of uterine infection using an exosomal characterization approach.
Almughlliq, Fatema B., Yong Q. Koh, Hassendrini N. Peiris, Kanchan Vaswani, Scott McDougall, Elizabeth M. Graham, Chris R. Burke, and Murray D. Mitchell. Journal of Dairy Science (2017).