Transcriptome profiling of Arabian horse blood during training regimens

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Ropka-Molik, Katarzyna ; Stefaniuk-Szmukier, Monika ; Żukowski, Kacper ; Piórkowska, Katarzyna ; Gurgul, Artur ; Bugno-Poniewierska, Monika (2017)
  • Publisher: Springer Nature
  • Journal: BMC Genetics, volume 18 (issn: 1471-2156, eissn: 1471-2156)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5382464, doi: 10.1186/s12863-017-0499-1
  • Subject: QH426-470 | Genetics(clinical) | Research Article | Exercise adaptation | Genetics | Training | Blood transcriptome | Arabian horse | RNA-seq

Background Arabian horses are believed to be one of the oldest and most influential horse breeds in the world. Blood is the main tissue involved in maintaining body homeostasis, and it is considered a marker of the processes taking place in the other tissues. Thus, the aim of our study was to identify the genetic basis of changes occurring in the blood of Arabian horses subjected to a training regimen and to compare the global gene expression profiles between different training periods (T1: after a slow canter phase that is considered a conditioning phase, T2: after an intense gallop phase, and T3: at the end of the racing season) and between trained and untrained horses (T0). RNA sequencing was performed on 37 samples with a 75-bp single-end run on a HiScanSQ platform (Illumina), and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified based on DESeq2 (v1.11.25) software. Results An increase in the number of DEGs between subsequent training periods was observed, and the highest amount of DEGs (440) was detected between untrained horses (T0) and horses at the end of the racing season (T3). The comparisons of the T2 vs. T3 transcriptomes and the T0 vs. T3 transcriptomes showed a significant gain of up-regulated genes during long-term exercise (up-regulation of 266 and 389 DEGs in the T3 period compared to T2 and T0, respectively). Forty differentially expressed genes were detected between the T1 and T2 periods, and 296 between T2 and T3. Functional annotation showed that the most abundant genes up-regulated in exercise were involved in pathways regulating cell cycle (PI3K-Akt signalling pathway), cell communication (cAMP-dependent pathway), proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, as well as immunity processes (Jak-STAT signalling pathway). Conclusions We investigated whether training causes permanent transcriptome changes in horse blood as a reflection of adaptation to conditioning and the maintenance of fitness to compete in flat races. The present study identified the overrepresented molecular pathways and genes that are essential for maintaining body homeostasis during long-term exercise in Arabian horses. Selected DEGs should be further investigated as markers that are potentially associated with racing performance in Arabian horses. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-017-0499-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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