Introduction: Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) is a member of Ig superfamily. The aim of this study was to prepare highly specific polyclonal antibodies against bovine VCAM-1 and to evaluate the expression of VCAM-1 in the mammary lymph nodes of cows with subclinical mastitis.
Material and Methods: The VCAM-1 gene was cloned from bovine Peyer’s patches and inserted into the pGEX-4T-1 and pET-28a vectors. The recombinant plasmids pGEX-4T-1/VCAM-1 and pET-28a/VCAM-1 were transferred into Escherichia coli BL21 and the recombinant strains were induced by isopropyl-D-thiogalactoside to produce fusion proteins tagged with polyhistidine (His) and glutathione S-transferase (GST), respectively. The expressed fusion proteins His-VCAM-1 and GST-VCAM-1 were identified by SDS-PAGE and Western blot. His-VCAM-1 protein was used as an antigen to immunise Wistar rats and polyclonal antibody serum against VCAM-1 was obtained.
Results: The serum titre tested by indirect ELISA was 128,000 using GST-VCAM-1 as the well coating antigen. Western blots indicated that the antibody recognised recombinant VCAM-1 protein as well as endogenous VCAM-1. In addition, using qPCR and Western blot, VCAM-1 mRNA and protein expression levels were measured in dairy cows with subclinical mastitis. It was demonstrated that VCAM-1 levels in the mammary lymph nodes of the cows were significantly higher than those from healthy controls (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: These results are to our knowledge the first report that VCAM-1 expression in the mammary lymph nodes is elevated in dairy cows with subclinical mastitis.