Detection of methionine- and alanine-recombinant bovine somatotropins and their induced antibodies in serum and milk of cows suggests blood-milk barrier specificity for these compounds

Smits, Nathalie G.E.; Blokland, Marco H.; Wubs, Klaas L.; Bovee, Toine F.H.; Albada, Bauke; Ginkel, Leendert A. van; Nielen, Michel W.F.


The elimination of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) and its induced antibodies through milk of 2 formulations is studied to propose a control strategy for its use or abuse. Two dairy cows were treated with alanine-rbST (Ala-rbST), which is identical to endogenous bovine somatotropin, and ten dairy cows were treated with methionine-rbST (Met-rbST), which differs by 1 amino acid from endogenous bovine somatotropin. We developed a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method able to measure rbST at a decision limit (CCα) of 0.8 ng/mL and 2.3 ng/mL for serum and milk, respectively. The results show that the administered Ala-rbST is transferred from blood to milk but that this is not the case for Met-rbST. This suggests a blood-milk barrier-related specificity for these compounds. In addition, rbST-induced antibodies were formed in animals treated with Ala-rbST and those treated with Met-rbST. In both treatments, the rbST-induced antibodies were transferred from blood to milk, showing no blood-milk barrier specificity for these antibodies. These elimination patterns show that, for enforcement purposes, the detection of rbST-induced antibodies in tank milk can serve to screen for rbST administration, and subsequent confirmatory serum analysis by LC-MS/MS is needed to identify whether Ala-rbST or Met-rbST has been used.