A polymorphism inXKR4is significantly associated with serum prolactin concentrations in beef cows grazing tall fescue

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Abstract

Summary

Fescue toxicosis is a common syndrome of poor growth and reproductive performance of beef cattle grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue infected with Lolium arundinaceum Schreb. Together with decreased feed intake, decreased growth rates and tissue necrosis due to vasoconstriction, depressed circulating serum prolactin concentrations are typically observed in cattle afflicted with fescue toxicosis. Polymorphisms within the XK, Kell blood group complex subunit-related family, member 4 (XKR4) gene located on BTA14 have been previously reported to be associated with rump fat thickness, residual feed intake, average daily feed intake and average daily gain in cattle. Associations also have been reported between XKR4 genotype and effectiveness of the dopamine antagonist iloperidone as a treatment of schizophrenia in humans. Domperidone, a related dopamine antagonist, mediates effects of fescue toxicosis on livestock, including restoring depressed concentrations of prolactin. A mixed-breed population of 592 beef cattle grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue was used to examine the association between XKR4 genotype and circulating prolactin concentrations. The SNP rs42646708 was significantly (P = 0.0002) associated with serum prolactin concentrations and explained 2.45% of the phenotypic variation. Effect of genotype at the SNP was tested across five breeds, with significant associations within both Angus (P = 0.0275) and Simmental (P = 0.0224) breeds. These results suggest XKR4 may play a role in mediating the negative effects of fescue toxicosis, and polymorphisms within this gene may be useful markers for selection for genetic resistance to the debilitating effects of endophyte-infected tall fescue.

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