Open Access Research article

The effect of colostrum intake on blood plasma proteome profile in newborn lambs: low abundance proteins

Lorenzo Enrique Hernández-Castellano1, André Martinho Almeida234*, Miguel Ventosa4, Ana Varela Coelho2, Noemí Castro1 and Anastasio Argüello1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Science, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arucas, Gran Canaria, Spain

2 Instituto de Tecnología Química e Biologica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal

3 Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT) & Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação em Sanidade Animal (CIISA), Lisbon, Portugal

4 Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, Oeiras, Portugal

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:85  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-85

Published: 5 April 2014



Colostrum intake by newborn lambs plays a fundamental role in the perinatal period, ensuring lamb survival. In this study, blood plasma samples from two groups of newborn lambs (Colostrum group and Delayed Colostrum group) at 2 and 14 h after birth were treated to reduce the content of high abundance proteins and analyzed using Two-Dimensional Differential in Gel Electrophoresis and MALDI MS/MS for protein identification in order to investigate low abundance proteins with immune function in newborn lambs.


The results showed that four proteins were increased in the blood plasma of lambs due to colostrum intake. These proteins have not been previously described as increased in blood plasma of newborn ruminants by colostrum intake. Moreover, these proteins have been described as having an immune function in other species, some of which were previously identified in colostrum and milk.


In conclusion, colostrum intake modified the low abundance proteome profile of blood plasma from newborn lambs, increasing the concentration of apolipoprotein A-IV, plasminogen, serum amyloid A and fibrinogen, demonstrating that colostrum is essential, not only for the provision of immunoglobulins, but also because of increases in several low abundance proteins with immune function.