STSM report Ekaterina Vachkova
The IGF-1 and their binding proteins distribution in different fractions of the first colostrum.

Subject: The IGF-1 and their binding proteins distribution in different fractions of the first colostrum.

Location: University of Bern, Vetsuisse Faculty, Veterinary Physiology, Bern, Switzerland
Host: Pr Rupert Bruckmaier, University of Bern, Vetsuisse Faculty, Veterinary Physiology, Bern, Switzerland
Applicant: Dr. Ekaterina Vachkova, Trakia University, Veterinary Faculty, Animal Physiology Unit, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 

Purpose of the STSM

The Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF)-I and the concentration of its binding proteins (IGFBPs) could vary during the different physiological states of the udder. Besides, the proportion between colostral free forms of IGF-1 (biologically active) and that bound to the BPs is important for regulation of their specific receptor activation in target cells of newborns. The plan was to study the system IGF-I and its binding proteins in different fractions of first colostrum.

Description of the work carried out during the STSM:

During her stay Ekaterina joinde the international working group whose task is to establish the influence of different hormonal effects on colostrogenesis in pre-partum, parturition and early postpartum period.
A cell culture model was evaluated to investigate the different stages of colostrum formation to establish the distribution of IGF-I and connecting it in different protein fractions. She was trained and afterwards assigned to work with some basic protocols for cell cultures: preparation of media for maintenance and treatment, freezing, splitting in containers with different surface, isolation of RNA.
Source of primary epithelial cell cultures were biopsy isolates from mammary glands of cows. During the experiment, cell cultures were treated with different combinations of hormones such as: estradiol, progesterone, insulin, hydrocortisone and prolactin related to different phases of colostrogenesis. The purpose of the experiment was to establish the timing of maximum expression of monitored factors, depending on the time period elapsed after the start of treatments.
In parallel, she learned of various web-based programs for designing primers, which were subsequently tested (temperature gradient, gel electrophoresis) and will be used to detect changes in mRNA expression of IGF-I binding proteins (IGFBPs) as some markers lacto-genesis (β-Lactalbumin) by quantitative RT-PCR. The collecting of some data and following statistical analyzes are still imminent.

Main results.
During the stay of only two months it was possible to learn new methods and approaches. The studies will be continued in both institutions in close collaboration also after the STSM. It was not possible to obtain results ready for publication during the STSM.
Future collaboration with host institution (if applicable)
The STSM was obviously the starting point of a fruitful and close collaboration between our institutions.
Foreseen publications/articles resulting or to result from the STSM (if applicable)
Common publications will be prepared as soon as sufficient data have been created. This was not possible during the duration of the STSM.
Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM
Prof. Dr. R.M. Bruckmaier confirms that during the 2 month of presence Dr. Vachkova worked enormously to achieve the goals of the STSM. She was highly motivated and could make significant progress in the establishment of the methods.

Other comments
In conclusion Ekaterina had the exclusive opportunity to learn modern methods for the removal of experimental models on cell cultures, to work in perfectly equipped with high-tech equipment laboratory and with an international team of world renowned scientists like Prof. Craig Baumrucker (PennState University, USA) and Prof. Rupert Bruckmaier (University of Bern, Switzerland), from which she received helpful guidance and wholehearted support in the current action. This allows me to set acquired experience as extremely valuable for my future career.
She would like to give my special thanks to Pr. Rupert Bruckmaier, Pr.Luciano Pinotti and Dr. Anelya Haritova for their efforts and support in realizing of STSM action.

STSM report Ekaterina Vachkova
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