Arginine Supply Impacts the Expression of Candidate microRNA Controlling Milk Casein Yield in Bovine Mammary Tissue

Xin Zhang, Yifan Wang, Mengzhi Wang, Gang Zhou, Lianmin Chen, Luoyang Ding, Dengpan Bu, Juan Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arginine, a semi-essential functional amino acid, has been found to promote the synthesis of casein in mammary epithelial cells to some extent. Data from mouse indicated that microRNA (miRNA) are important in regulating the development of mammary gland and milk protein synthesis. Whether there are potential links among arginine, miRNA and casein synthesis in bovine mammary gland is uncertain. The objective of the present work was to detect the effects of arginine supplementation on the expression of miRNA associated with casein synthesis in mammary tissue and mammary epithelial cells (BMEC). The first study with bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMEC) focused on screening for miRNA candidates associated with the regulation of casein production by arginine. The BMEC were cultured with three different media, containing 0, 1.6 and 3.2 mM arginine, for 24 h. The expression of candidate miRNA was evaluated. Subsequently, in an in vivo study, 6 Chinese Holstein dairy cows with similar BW (mean ± SE) (512.0 ± 19.6 kg), parity (3), BCS (4.0) and DIM (190 ± 10.3 d) were randomly assigned to three experimental groups. The experimental cows received an infusion of casein, arginine (casein plus double the concentration of arginine in casein), and alanine (casein plus alanine, i.e., iso-nitrogenous to the arginine group) in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design with 22 d for each period (7 d for infusion and 15 d for washout). Mammary gland biopsies were obtained from each cow at the end of each infusion period. Results of the in vitro study showed differences between experimental groups and the control group for the expression of nine miRNA: miR-743a, miR-543, miR-101a, miR-760-3p, miR-1954, miR-712, miR-574-5p, miR-468 and miR-875-3p. The in vivo study showed that arginine infusion promoted milk protein content, casein yield and the expression of CSN1S1 and CSN1S2. Furthermore, the expression of miR-743a, miR-543, miR-101a, miR-760-3p, miR-1954, and miR-712 was also greater in response to arginine injection compared with the control or alanine group. Overall, results both in vivo and in vitro revealed that arginine might partly influence casein yield by altering the expression of 6 miRNAs (miR-743a, miR-543, miR-101a, miR-760-3p, miR-1954, and miR-712).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number797
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 5 2020


  • Arginine
  • Casein yield
  • Gene expression regulation
  • MicroRNAs
  • Milk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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