Research Area

Food, Veterinary and Agriculture


Stacey Kelly


Henning Stockmann

Erin Williams

Alex Evans

Tharmala Tharmalingam

Pauline Rudd

Stephen Carrington

Resource Files

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Animal Diagnostics cattle Endometritis Animal Health Screening

Glycodiagnostic Diagnostic Test

Prognostic test for the early detection of Endometritis in cattle.

Early detection of endometritis in livestock to enable successful intervention and treatment of the disease before it becomes an economic burden. Substantial economic loss occurs within dairy herds as a consequence of persistent endometritis. The resulting treatment costs, reduced fertility, increased cull rates and animal welfare consequences collectively cost over €15 billion globally per annum. The key to the reduction of these costs is early diagnosis but currently detection methods are only effective after the consequences of persistent uterine infection have already occurred. Currently there are no reliable early diagnostic or prognostic tests for animals that go on to develop chronic or subclinical endometritis. Researchers within UCD and NIBRT have developed a prognostic/diagnostic assay for the early detection of endometritis in livestock based on the detection of specific changes in glycosylation patterns that are highly correlated with the occurrence of uterine infection. This opportunity has the potential to work as a valuable prognostic tool affording farmers and veterinary practitioners the ability to intervene before the damage caused by clinical disease manifests itself. It also has the potential to be used as a phenotypic marker to enhance innate disease resistance through selective breeding programmes.
How It Works
Research within the field of glycomics has found that protein glycosylation is highly responsive to pathophysiological stimuli. Researchers within UCD alongside collaborators in The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have identified differential glycosylation profiles in the immuglobulin G of animals very early in the disease course, well before current methods can detect clinical disease. When combined with novel glycoanalytical workflows, these can be used for the rapid and very early diagnosis of affected animals to permit much earlier and more effective intervention in the disease course. The key change detected in the IgG glycosylation relates to a specific sugar modification called core fucosylation which is known to be directly related to immunoglobulin effector function and thus plays a role in immunity. The test has the potential to be used as a phenotypic marker to select for animals with an innate resistance to uterine infections. Analysis of serum samples taken at defined time points prior to and post partum, using a data classification and regression training model, enables the researchers to predict disease phenotype based on IgG fucosylation with a high degree of accuracy as early as 7 days post-partum.
This early detection method offers an attractive alternative to current conventional methods of diagnosis in which disease determination typically occurs from 2-5 weeks post partum by which time substantial damage to animal health and reproductive performance has occurred.
PCT Patent Application WO2015032815 filed September 2014.
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