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Factors influencing milk osteopontin concentration based on measurements from Danish Holstein cows

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Our objective was to determine the content of the bioactive protein osteopontin (OPN) in bovine milk and identify factors influencing its concentration. OPN is expressed in many tissues and body fluids, with by far the highest concentrations in milk. OPN plays a role in immunological and developmental processes and it has been associated with several milk production traits and lactation persistency in cows. In the present study, we report the development of an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measurement of OPN in bovine milk. The method was used to determine the concentration of OPN in milk from 661 individual Danish Holstein cows. The median OPN level was determined to 21.9 mg/l with a pronounced level of individual variation ranging from 0.4 mg/l to 67.8 mg/l. Breeding for increased OPN in cow's milk is of significant interest, however, the heritability of OPN in milk was found to be relatively low, with an estimated value of 0.19 in the current dataset. The variation explained by the herd was also found to be low suggesting that OPN levels are not affected by farm management or feeding. Interestingly, the concentration of OPN was found to increase with days in milk and to decrease with parity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Research
Pages (from-to)89 - 94
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • Bioactive milk protein, ELISA, Osteopontin, heritability

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