Skip to main content Accessibility help

Influence of the inflammatory status of entire male pigs on their pubertal development and fat androstenone

  • S. P. Parois (a1), A. Faoüen (a1), N. Le Floc’h (a1) and A. Prunier (a1)


Androstenone production increases during pubertal development and plays a major role in boar taint. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of a subclinical inflammation on the pubertal development of boars and hence on fat androstenone. Contrasted hygiene conditions were applied during rearing to increase the variability of the inflammatory status. Boars from a commercial cross line were allocated at 139±0.9 days of age (Day 0) and 81.3±5.9 kg of live weight either to Good (n=61) or Poor (n=54) hygiene conditions until slaughter at 172.9±4.8 days of age and 116.7±4.5 kg live weight. Inflammatory status, growth and pubertal development were evaluated on Day 0, Day 27 and at slaughter by analysing the blood formula, plasma inflammatory proteins; testosterone and oestradiol, salivary cortisol, rectal temperature, live weight, back fat thickness, weight of reproductive organs and clinical scores of organs (lungs, stomach, snout). Fat was collected on Day 27 by biopsy and at slaughter to measure androstenone concentration. A principal component analysis including inflammatory indicators followed by a clustering procedure was performed to identify pigs with a high (Infl+, n=50) or a low (Infl−, n=65) inflammatory status. Infl+ pigs had more granulocytes/ml, higher concentrations of haptoglobin, C-reative protein and cortisol (P<0.05), lower growth rate and higher lung pneumonia score. However, regardless of stage, the inflammatory status had no significant effect on plasma testosterone or oestradiol, fat androstenone or sexual organ development. Present data suggest that a mild inflammatory status has no influence on pubertal development or fat concentration of androstenone in boars.


Corresponding author


Hide All

Present address: Biomin France Sarl, 22440 Ploufragan, France



Hide All
Allrich, RD, Christenson, RK, Ford, JJ and Zimmerman, DR 1983. Pubertal development of the boar. Age-related changes in testicular morphology and in vitro production of testosterone and oestradiol 17-beta. Biology of Reproduction 28, 902909.
Baes, C, Mattei, S, Luther, H, Ampuero, S, Sidler, X, Bee, G, Spring, P and Hofer, A 2013. A performance test for boar taint compounds in live boars. Animal 7, 714720.
Bates, D, Maechler, M, Bolker, B and Walker, S 2015. Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software 67, 148.
Batorek, N, Škrlep, M, Prunier, A, Louveau, I, Noblet, J, Bonneau, M and Čandek-Potokar, M 2012. Effect of feed restriction on hormones, performance, carcass traits, and meat quality in immunocastrated pigs. Journal of Animal Science 90, 45934603.
Chrousos, GP 1995. The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and immune-mediated inflammation. New England Journal of Medicine 332, 13511363.
Diemer, T, Hales, DB and Weidner, W 2003. Immune-endocrine interactions and Leydig cell function: the role of cytokines. Andrologia 35, 5563.
Donham, KJ, Thorne, PS, Breuer, GM, Powers, W, Marquez, S and Reynolds, S 2002. Exposure limits related to air quality and risk assessment. In Iowa concentrated animal feeding operations air quality study (ed. Merchant JM and Ross RF), pp. 164–183. University of Iowa Press, Iowa.
Heegaard, PMH, Klausen, J, Nielsen, JP, González-Ramón, N, Piñeiro, M, Lampreave, F and Alava, MA 1998. The porcine acute phase response to infection with actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. Haptoglobin, C-reactive protein, major acute phase protein and serum amyloid a protein are sensitive indicators of infection. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 119, 365373.
Johnson, RW 1997. Inhibition of growth by pro-inflammatory cytokines: an integrated view. Journal of Animal Science 75, 12441255.
Josse, J and Husson, F 2016. missMDA: A package for handling missing values in multivariate data analysis. Journal of Statistical Software 70, 131.
Le Floc’h, N, Deblanc, C, Cariolet, R, Gautier-Bouchardon, AV, Merlot, E and Simon, G 2014a. Effect of feed restriction on performance and postprandial nutrient metabolism in pigs co-infected with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and swine influenza virus. PLoS One 9, e104605.
Le Floc’h, N, Jondreville, C, Matte, JJ and Seve, B 2006. Importance of sanitary environment for growth performance and plasma nutrient homeostasis during the post-weaning period in piglets. Archives of Animal Nutrition 60, 2334.
Le Floc’h, N, Knudsen, C, Gidenne, T, Montagne, L, Merlot, E and Zemb, O 2014. Impact of feed restriction on health, digestion and faecal microbiota of growing pigs housed in good or poor hygiene conditions. Animal 8, 16321642.
Le Floc’h, N, Matte, JJ, Melchior, D, Van Milgen, J and Sève, B 2010. A moderate inflammation caused by the deterioration of housing conditions modifies Trp metabolism but not Trp requirement for growth of post-weaned piglets. Animal 4, 18911898.
Le, S, Josse, J and Husson, F 2008. FactoMineR: An R Package for Multivariate Analysis. Journal of Statistical Software 25, 118.
Lenth, RV 2016. Least-Squares Means: The R Package lsmeans. Journal of Statistical Software 69, 133.
Merlot, E, Thomas, F and Prunier, A 2013. Comparison of immune and health markers in intact and neonatally castrated male pigs. The Veterinary Record 173, 317322.
Odink, J, Smeets, JFM, Visser, IJR, Sandman, H and Snijders, JMA 1990. Hematological and clinicochemical profiles of healthy swine and swine with inflammatory processes. Journal of Animal Science 68, 163170.
Pastorelli, H, Le Floc’h, N, Merlot, E, Meunier-Salaun, MC, van Milgen, J and Montagne, L 2012. Feed restriction applied after weaning has different effects on pig performance and health depending on the sanitary conditions. Journal of Animal Science 90, 48664875.
Patterson, RLS 1968. 5α-androst-16-ene-3-one: compound responsible for taint in boar fat. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 19, 3138.
Prunier, A, Brillouet, A, Merlot, E, Meunier-Salaün, MC and Tallet, C 2013. Influence of housing and season on the pubertal development, boar taint compounds and skin lesions of male pigs. Animal 7, 20352043.
R Core Team 2015. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Skrlep, M, Batorek, N, Bonneau, M, Fazarinc, G, Segula, B and Candek-Potokar, M 2012. Elevated fat skatole levels in immunocastrated, surgically castrated and entire male pigs with acute dysentery. Veterinary Journal 194, 417419.
Wallgren, M, Kindahl, H and Rodriguezmartinez, H 1993. Alterations in testicular function after endotoxin injection in the boar. International Journal of Andrology 16, 235243.
Walstra, P 1974. Fattening of young boars: quantification of negative and positive aspects. Livestock Production Science 1, 187196.
Warren, EJ, Finck, BN, Arkins, S, Kelley, KW, Scamurra, RW, Murtaugh, MP and Johnson, RW 1997. Coincidental changes in behavior and plasma cortisol in unrestrained pigs after intracerebroventricular injection of tumor necrosis factor-α 1. Endocrinology 138, 23652371.
Webel, DM, Finck, BN, Baker, DH and Johnson, RW 1997. Time course of increased plasma cytokines, cortisol, and urea nitrogen in pigs following intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide. Journal of Animal Science 75, 15141520.
Wesoly, R and Weiler, U 2012. Nutritional influences on skatole formation and skatole metabolism in the pig. Animals 2, 221242.
Wright, KJ, Balaji, R, Hill, CM, Dritz, SS, Knoppel, EL and Minton, JE 2000. Integrated adrenal, somatotropic, and immune responses of growing pigs to treatment with lipopolysaccharide. Journal of Animal Science 78, 18921899.
Zamaratskaia, G and Squires, EJ 2009. Biochemical, nutritional and genetic effects on boar taint in entire male pigs. Animal 3, 15081521.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed