Method to Detect Hormone Treatment in Animals

Patent No. 5,635,401

Issued: June 3, 1997

Inventor: Vitaly L. Spitsberg, Ithaca, NY; Ronald C. Gorewit, Slaterville Springs, NY

Assignee: Cornell Research Foundation, 20 Thornwood Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (bST) in dairy cows and the hormone has widespread use. The use of bST has sparked a nationwide controversy regarding economic, health and political issues. The controversy has led some dairy product distributors to mark their products with claims that the products are bST free or that the cows used to produce the milk were not treated with bST. However, currently there is no simple test for determining whether milk has come from an animal treated with the hormone.

The present invention includes the discovery that the MFGM of cows treated with bST displays weaker FABP autophosphorylation activity than non treated cows. MDGI/FABP is involved in the binding and transport of milk fatty acids. The teachings of the present invention demonstrate that the MFGM isolated from cows treated with bST have significantly reduced levels of phosphorylated FABP. The present invention includes a test for bST treatment by measuring the level of phosphorylated FABP.

The bST test of the present invention can be used not only to determine whether the animal producing the milk has been treated with bST, it can also be used to determine the efficacy of bST on milk production and to optimize bST production. Dairy managers could thus base their decision on whether to continue bST treatment on such a test.

Furthermore, this is the first time that a relationship between growth hormone and FABP phosphorylation has been described. By looking for variations from normal levels of FABP phosphorylation, conditions that affect growth hormone activity can be discovered.

The subject matter described herein was in part developed under USDA grant number 92-27206-779 of which the present inventors were the principal investigators and Cornell University was the Grantee.

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