Clock circadian regulator (CLOCK) gene network expression patterns in bovine adipose, liver, and mammary gland at 3 time points during the transition from pregnancy into lactation

M. Wang, Z. Zhou, M. J. Khan, J. Gao, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The transition from late gestation to early lactation is the most critical phase of the lactation cycle for mammals. Research in rodents has revealed changes in the clock circadian regulator (CLOCK) gene network expression around parturition. However, their expression profiles and putative functions during the periparturient period in ruminants remain to be determined. The present study aimed to investigate the expression pattern of the CLOCK network and selected metabolic genes simultaneously in mammary gland (MG), liver (LIV), and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT). Seven dairy cows were biopsied at -10 (±2), 7, and 21 d relative to parturition. A day × tissue interaction was observed for ARNTL, CRY1, and PER2 due to upregulation at 7 and 21 d postpartum, with their expression being greater in AT and MG compared with LIV. No interaction was detected for CLOCK, CRY2, PER1, and PER3. In general, the expression of NPAS2, NR1D1, NR2F2, ALAS1, FECH, FBXW11, CCRN4L, PPARA, PPARGC1A, and FGF21 was lower at -10 d but increased postpartum in all tissues. The interaction detected for CSNK1D was associated with increased expression postpartum in AT and MG but not LIV. The interaction detected for CPT1A was due to upregulation in AT and LIV postpartum without a change in MG. In contrast, the interaction for PPARG was due to upregulation in AT and MG postpartum but a downregulation in LIV. Leptin was barely detectable in LIV, but there was an interaction effect in AT and MG associated with upregulation postpartum in MG and downregulation in AT. Together, these results suggest that the control of metabolic adaptations in LIV, MG, and AT around parturition might be partly regulated through the CLOCK gene network. Although the present study did not specifically address rhythmic control of tissue metabolism via the CLOCK gene network, the difference in expression of genes studied among tissues confirms that the behavior of circadian-controlled metabolic genes around parturition differs by tissue and, as such, is closely associated with the metabolic function of the organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4601-4612
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015



  • Circadian genes
  • Dairy cow
  • Lactation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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