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The applications of proteomic strategies to ovine medicine remain limited. The definition of serum proteome may be a good tool to identify useful protein biomarkers for recognising sub-clinical conditions and overt disease in sheep. Findings from bovine species are often directly translated for use in ovine medicine. In order to characterize normal protein patterns and improve knowledge of molecular species-specific characteristics, we generated a two-dimensional reference map of sheep serum. The possible application of this approach was tested by analysing serum protein patterns in ewes with mild broncho-pulmonary disease, which is very common in sheep and in the peripartum period which is a stressful time, with a high incidence of infectious and parasitic diseases.
This study generated the first reference 2-DE maps of sheep serum. Overall, 250 protein spots were analyzed, and 138 identified.
Compared with healthy sheep, serum protein profiles of animals with rhino-tracheo-bronchitis showed a significant decrease in protein spots identified as transthyretin, apolipoprotein A1 and a significant increase in spots identified as haptoglobin, endopin 1b and alpha1B glycoprotein.
In the peripartum period, haptoglobin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, apolipoprotein A1 levels rose, while transthyretin content dropped.
This study describes applications of proteomics in putative biomarker discovery for early diagnosis as well as for monitoring the physiological and metabolic situations critical for ovine welfare.