Beta-hydroxybutyrate Infusion Identifies Acute Differentially Expressed Genes Related to Metabolism and Reproduction in the Hypothalamus and Pituitary of Sheep
Cope, E., B. H. Voy, B. Whitlock, M. E. Staton, T. Lane, J. Davitt, and J. T. Mulliniks.  2018.  Physiological Genomics, Jun 1;50(6):468-477. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

To identify molecular pathways that couple metabolic imbalances and reproduction, we randomly assigned 10 castrated male sheep to be centrally injected into the lateral ventricle through intracerebroventricular cannulas with 1 ml of β-hydroxybutyric acid sodium salt solution (BHB; 12,800 Ámol/l) or saline solution (CON; 0.9% NaCl). Approximately 2 h postinjection, sheep were humanely euthanized, and hypothalamus and pituitary tissues were harvested for transcriptome characterization by RNA sequencing. RNA was extracted from the hypothalamus and pituitary and sequenced at a high depth (hypothalamus: 468,912,732 reads; pituitary: 515,106,092 reads) with the Illumina Hi-Seq 2500 platform and aligned to Bos taurus and Ovis aries genomes. Of the total raw reads, 87% (hypothalamus) and 90.5% (pituitary) mapped to the reference O. aries genome. Within these read sets, ~56% in hypothalamus and 69% in pituitary mapped to either known or putative protein coding genes. Fragments per kilobase of transcripts per million normalized counts were averaged and ranked to identify the transcript expression level. Gene Ontology analysis (DAVID Bioinformatics Resources) was utilized to identify biological process functions related to genes shared between tissues, as well as functional categories with tissue-specific enrichment. Between CON- and BHB-treated sheep, 11 and 44 genes were differentially expressed (adj. P < 0.05) within the pituitary and hypothalamus, respectively. Functional enrichment analyses revealed BHB altered expression of genes in pathways related to stimulus perception, inflammation, and cell cycle control. The set of genes altered by BHB creates a foundation from which to identify the signaling pathways that impact reproduction during metabolic imbalances.