CAS Key Laboratory for Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry Production, South-Central Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in Ministry of Agriculture, Hunan Provincial Engineering Research Center for Healthy Livestock and Poultry Production, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, Hunan 410125, China; Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Safety Animal Production (CICSAP), Changsha, Hunan 410128, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Blood has been widely collected and analyzed for diagnosing and monitoring diseases in humans and animals; a range of plasma proteins and peptide can be used as biomarkers to describe pathological or physiological status. Changes in the environment such as high-altitude hypoxia (HAH) can lead to adaptive changes in the blood system of mammals. However, the adaptation mechanism induced by HAH remains unclear. In this study, we used 12 multiparous Jersey cattle (400 ± 35 kg, average 3 yr old, dry period). We applied an iTRAQ (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation) proteomics approach and microRNA (miRNA) microarray to explore differences in the plasma proteomic and miRNA profiles of Jersey cattle exposed to HAH conditions in Nyingchi, Tibet (altitude 3,000 m) and HAH-free conditions in Shenyang, China (altitude 50 m). Such quantitative proteomic strategies are suitable for accurate and comprehensive prediction of miRNA targets. In total, 264 differentially expressed proteins (127 upregulated, fold-change >1.2; 137 downregulated, fold-change <0.8) and 47 differential miRNAs (25 upregulated, fold-change >2; 22 downregulated, fold-change <0.5) were observed in the HAH-stressed group compared with the HAH-free group. Integrative analysis of proteomic and miRNA profiles demonstrated that the biological processes associated with differentially expressed proteins were immune response, complement system, and conjugation system. Integrative analysis of canonical pathways showed that most were associated with acute phase response signaling (z-score = -0.125), liver X receptor/retinoid X receptor (LXR/RXR) activation pathway (z-score = 1.134), coagulation system (z-score = -0.943), and complement system (z-score = -0.632). The current results indicated that Jersey cattle exposed to HAH could adapt to that condition through regulation of inflammatory homeostasis by inhibiting the acute phase response, coagulation system, and complement system and promoting LXR/RXR activation.