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The aim of the present research was to assess factors associated with first-lactation milk yield in dairy heifers, including maternal and environmental factors, factors related to the development of the heifer and factors related to its offspring such as gender of the calf. In addition, the potential underlying mechanism, in particular metabolic adaptations, was further explored. Data on body growth, reproduction and milk yield of 74 Holstein Friesian heifers on three herds in Flanders (Belgium) were collected. At birth, body measurements of the heifers were recorded and blood samples were taken (in order) to determine basal glucose and insulin concentrations. Body measurements were assessed every 3 months until first calving, and gender and weight of their first calf were recorded. Information on fertility and milk yield of the heifer and its dam were collected from the herd databases. Daily temperature and photoperiod were recorded from the database of the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute. Linear mixed models were run with herd as a random factor, to account for differences in herd management. Heifers grew 867±80.7 g/day during their first year of life and were inseminated at 14.8±1.34 months. First calving took place at 24.5±1.93 months, at a weight of 642±61.5 kg and heifers produced 8506±1064 kg energy corrected milk during their first 305-day lactation. Regression models revealed that none of the maternal factors such as milk yield and parity, nor the growth of the heifer during the 1st year of life were associated with milk yield during first lactation. Age, and to a lesser extent BW at first parturition were positively associated with first-lactation milk yield. In addition, the season of birth, but not calving, had a significant influence on milk yield, with winter-born heifers producing less than heifers born in any other season. The lower yielding winter-born heifers had higher insulin concentrations at birth, whereas glucose concentrations were similar, the latter being suggestive for lower insulin sensitivity of the peripheral tissues. Furthermore, environmental temperature at the end of gestation was negatively correlated with neonatal insulin concentrations. In conclusion, results of the present study suggest heifers born during the hotter months are born with a higher peripheral insulin sensitivity, finally leading to a higher first-lactation milk yield.
In temperate latitudes sheep have a seasonal reproductive behaviour, which imposes strong constraints on husbandry in terms of work organization and availability of animal products. During the last 50 years, researchers have focused on understanding the mechanisms driving small ruminants’ reproduction cycles and finding ways to control them. This characteristic is inherited from their wild ancestor. However, the history of its evolution over the 10 millennia that separates present day European sheep from their Near Eastern ancestors’ remains to be written. This perspective echoes archaeologists’ current attempts at reconstructing ancient pastoral societies’ socio-economical organization. Information related to birth seasonality may be retrieved directly from archaeological sheep teeth. The methodology consists of reconstructing the seasonal cycle record in sheep molars, through sequential analysis of the stable oxygen isotope composition (δ18O) of enamel. Because the timing of tooth development is fixed within a species, inter-individual variability in this parameter reflects birth seasonality. A review of the data obtained from 10 European archaeological sites dated from the 6th to the 3rd millennia BC is provided. The results demonstrate a restricted breeding season for sheep: births occurred over a period of 3 to 4 months, from late winter to early summer at latitudes 43°N to 48°N, while a later onset was observed at a higher latitude (59°N). All conclusions concurred with currently held expectations based on present day sheep physiology, which, aside from the historical significance, contributes to the reinforcing of the methodological basis of the approach. Further study in this area will permit regional variability attributable to technical choices, within global schemes, to be fully reported.
In all, 60 Angus×Hereford heifers were ranked by age and BW (210±2 days and 220±2 kg) on day 0, and assigned to: (a) one of three drylot pens (10×14 m pens; 10 heifers/pen) resulting in a stocking density of 14 m2/heifer (HIDENS; n=3), or (b) one of three pastures (25 ha pastures; 10 heifers/pasture), resulting in a stocking density of 25 000 m2/heifer (LOWDENS; n=3). Pastures were harvested for hay before the beginning of this experiment, and negligible forage was available for grazing to LOWDENS heifers during the experiment (days 0 to 182). All heifers received the same limited-fed diet, which averaged (dry matter basis) 4.0 kg/heifer daily of hay and 3.0 kg/heifer daily of a corn-based concentrate. Heifer shrunk BW was recorded after 16 h of feed and water withdrawal on days −3 and 183 for BW gain calculation. On day 0, heifers were fitted with a pedometer behind their right shoulder. Each week, pedometer results were recorded and blood samples were collected for puberty evaluation via plasma progesterone. Plasma samples collected on days 0, 28, 56, 84, 112, 140, 161 and 182 were also analyzed for cortisol concentrations. On days 0, 49, 98, 147 and 182, hair samples were collected from the tail switch for analysis of hair cortisol concentrations. On days 28, 102 and 175, blood samples were collected for whole blood RNA isolation and analysis of heat shock protein (HSP) 70 and HSP72 mRNA expression. Heifers from LOWDENS had more (P<0.01) steps/week compared with HIDENS. No treatment effects were detected (P=0.82) for heifer BW gain. Plasma cortisol concentrations were greater (P⩽0.05) in LOWDENS compared with HIDENS heifers on days 84, 140, 161 and 182 (treatment×day interaction; P<0.01). Hair cortisol concentrations were greater (P<0.01) in HIDENS compared with LOWDENS heifers beginning on day 98 (treatment×day interaction; P<0.01). Heifers from LOWDENS had greater (P=0.04) mean mRNA expression of HSP72, and tended (P=0.09) to have greater mean mRNA expression of HSP70 compared with HIDENS. Heifers from HIDENS experienced delayed puberty attainment and had less (P<0.01) proportion of pubertal heifers on day 182 compared with LOWDENS (treatment×day interaction; P<0.01). In summary, HIDENS altered heifer stress-related and physiological responses, and delayed puberty attainment compared with LOWDENS.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
As the environments in which livestock are reared become more variable, animal robustness becomes an increasingly valuable attribute. Consequently, there is increasing focus on managing and breeding for it. However, robustness is a difficult phenotype to properly characterise because it is a complex trait composed of multiple components, including dynamic elements such as the rates of response to, and recovery from, environmental perturbations. In this review, the following definition of robustness is used: the ability, in the face of environmental constraints, to carry on doing the various things that the animal needs to do to favour its future ability to reproduce. The different elements of this definition are discussed to provide a clearer understanding of the components of robustness. The implications for quantifying robustness are that there is no single measure of robustness but rather that it is the combination of multiple and interacting component mechanisms whose relative value is context dependent. This context encompasses both the prevailing environment and the prevailing selection pressure. One key issue for measuring robustness is to be clear on the use to which the robustness measurements will employed. If the purpose is to identify biomarkers that may be useful for molecular phenotyping or genotyping, the measurements should focus on the physiological mechanisms underlying robustness. However, if the purpose of measuring robustness is to quantify the extent to which animals can adapt to limiting conditions then the measurements should focus on the life functions, the trade-offs between them and the animal’s capacity to increase resource acquisition. The time-related aspect of robustness also has important implications. Single time-point measurements are of limited value because they do not permit measurement of responses to (and recovery from) environmental perturbations. The exception being single measurements of the accumulated consequence of a good (or bad) adaptive capacity, such as productive longevity and lifetime efficiency. In contrast, repeated measurements over time have a high potential for quantification of the animal’s ability to cope with environmental challenges. Thus, we should be able to quantify differences in adaptive capacity from the data that are increasingly becoming available with the deployment of automated monitoring technology on farm. The challenge for future management and breeding will be how to combine various proxy measures to obtain reliable estimates of robustness components in large populations. A key aspect for achieving this is to define phenotypes from consideration of their biological properties and not just from available measures.
Egg storage longer than 7 days is associated with negative effects on hatchability traits. Pre-storage incubation has been a suggested method to reduce the negative effects of long-term storage times by enhancing the developmental stage of the embryo and probably reducing the embryonic stress. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of pre-storage incubation and storage time on hatchability characteristics, chick quality and serum thyroid hormones, antioxidative properties and immunoglobulin Y (IgY) concentrations of newly hatched chicks at two breeder flock ages. A total of 8000 fertile eggs were obtained from two different ages of chicken breeder hens (Egyptian local cross, Inshas). Half of the eggs were collected from young breeder hens (28 weeks old) and the other half from old breeder hens (50 weeks old). In each breeder flock age, eggs were distributed in a completely randomized experimental design in a 2×4 factorial arrangement, with two storage periods (4 or 14 days) and four pre-storage incubation durations (0, 4, 6 or 8 h at 37.5°C). At 28 and 50 weeks of age, pre-storage incubation and its interaction with storage period influenced significantly the apparent fertility, hatchability of set eggs and hatchability of fertile eggs and this improvement in hatchability is attributed to the reduction in embryonic mortality (early, intermediate and late). Pre-storage incubation for 6 or 8 h elevated significantly the grade A chicks and reduced the grade B chicks in comparison with non-heated controls. Interestingly, for eggs stored for 14 days, pre-storage incubation for 6 or 8 h enhanced serum triiodothyronine, thyroxine, glutathione peroxidase activity, total antioxidant capacity and IgY concentrations significantly and decreased serum malondialdehyde concentration significantly in the newly hatched chicks. It could be concluded that pre-storage incubation enhanced the hatching results, improved the antioxidative properties, reduced lipid peroxidation and elevated the humoral immunity in the newly hatched chicks. Hence, several benefits might be gained by pre-storage incubation when fertilized eggs will be stored for long periods.
Inbreeding has been associated with the impairment of reproductive performance in many cattle breeds. Although the usage of reproductive biotechnologies has been increasing in bovine populations, not much attention has been given to the impact of inbreeding over cow’s performance on artificial reproduction. The objective of this study was to estimate the impact of inbreeding on in vitro embryo production in a Guzerá breed population. The inbreeding coefficient (F), calculated as half of the co-ancestry of the individual’s parents, was used as an estimate of inbreeding. The inbreeding coefficients of the donor, sire (used on in vitro fertilization) and of the embryos were included, separately, in the proposed models either as classificatory or continuous variables (linear and quadratic effects). The percentage of non-inbred individuals (or embryos) and mean F of donors, embryos and sires were 29.38%; 35.76%; 42.86% and 1.98±2.68; 1.32±3.13; 2.08±2.79, respectively. Two different models were considered, one for oocyte production traits and other for embryo production traits. The increase of F of the donor significantly (P<0.05) impaired the number of viable oocytes (NOV), number of grade I oocytes (NGI) and number of cleaved embryos (NCLV). Moreover, the donor’s F influenced the percentage of grade I oocytes (PGI), percentage of viable embryos (PEMB) and percentage of cleaved embryos that turned into embryos (PCXE). No significant (P>0.05) effects were observed for the sire (father of the embryos) inbreeding coefficient over the traits analysed. Embryo’s F influenced (P<0.05) the number of viable embryos (NEMB), percentage of viable embryos (PEMB) and percentage of cleaved embryos that turn into embryos (PCXE). Results suggested that an increase in the inbreeding coefficient might impair the embryos ability to survive through challenges imposed by the in vitro environment. Submitting highly inbred Guzerá female donors to in vitro embryo production may, in the long-term, have negative implications on the number of embryos obtained per cow and increase the relative costs of the improvement programmes based on this technology. High levels of inbreeding should be avoided when selecting Guzerá female donors and planning in vitro fertilization mating.
Within recent years, there has been growing interest in the prediction of bull fertility through in vitro assessment of semen quality. A model for fertility prediction based on early evaluation of semen quality parameters, to exclude sires with potentially low fertility from breeding programs, would therefore be useful. The aim of the present study was to identify the most suitable parameters that would provide reliable prediction of fertility. Frozen semen from 18 Italian Holstein-Friesian proven bulls was analyzed using computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) (motility and kinetic parameters) and flow cytometry (FCM) (viability, acrosomal integrity, mitochondrial function, lipid peroxidation, plasma membrane stability and DNA integrity). Bulls were divided into two groups (low and high fertility) based on the estimated relative conception rate (ERCR). Significant differences were found between fertility groups for total motility, active cells, straightness, linearity, viability and percentage of DNA fragmented sperm. Correlations were observed between ERCR and some kinetic parameters, and membrane instability and some DNA integrity indicators. In order to define a model with high relation between semen quality parameters and ERCR, backward stepwise multiple regression analysis was applied. Thus, we obtained a prediction model that explained almost half (R2=0.47, P<0.05) of the variation in the conception rate and included nine variables: five kinetic parameters measured by CASA (total motility, active cells, beat cross frequency, curvilinear velocity and amplitude of lateral head displacement) and four parameters related to DNA integrity evaluated by FCM (degree of chromatin structure abnormality Alpha-T, extent of chromatin structure abnormality (Alpha-T standard deviation), percentage of DNA fragmented sperm and percentage of sperm with high green fluorescence representative of immature cells). A significant relationship (R2=0.84, P<0.05) was observed between real and predicted fertility. Once the accuracy of fertility prediction has been confirmed, the model developed in the present study could be used by artificial insemination centers for bull selection or for elimination of poor fertility ejaculates.
This study investigated the effects of rider weight in the BW ratio (BWR) range common for Icelandic horses (20% to 35%), on stride parameters in tölt in Icelandic horses. The kinematics of eight experienced Icelandic school horses were measured during an incremental exercise test using a high-speed camera (300 frames/s). Each horse performed five phases (642 m each) in tölt at a BWR between rider (including saddle) and horse starting at 20% (BWR20) and increasing to 25% (BWR25), 30% (BWR30), 35% (BWR35) and finally 20% (BWR20b) was repeated. One professional rider rode all horses and weight (lead) was added to saddle and rider as needed. For each phase, eight strides at speed of 5.5 m/s were analyzed for stride duration, stride frequency, stride length, duty factor (DF), lateral advanced placement, lateral advanced liftoff, unipedal support (UPS), bipedal support (BPS) and height of front leg action. Stride length became shorter (Y=2.73−0.004x; P<0.01) and more frequent (Y=2.56+0.002x; P<0.001) with added weight. Duty factor and BPS increased with increased BWR (P<0.001), whereas UPS decreased (P<0.001). Lateral advanced timing of limb placement and liftoff and height of front leg action were not affected by BWR (P>0.05). In conclusion, increased BWR decreased stride length and increased DF proportionally to the same extent in all limbs, whereas BPS increased at the expense of decreased UPS. These changes can be expected to decrease tölt quality when subjectively evaluated according to the breeding goals for the Icelandic horse. However, beat, symmetry and height of front leg lifting were not affected by BWR.
This study examined the effect of increasing BW ratio (BWR) between rider and horse, in the BWR range common for Icelandic horses (20% to 35%), on heart rate (HR), plasma lactate concentration (Lac), BWR at Lac 4 mmol/l (W4), breathing frequency (BF), rectal temperature (RT) and hematocrit (Hct) in Icelandic horses. In total, eight experienced school-horses were used in an incremental exercise test performed outdoors on an oval riding track and one rider rode all horses. The exercise test consisted of five phases (each 642 m) in tölt, a four-beat symmetrical gait, at a speed of 5.4±0.1 m/s (mean±SD), where BWR between rider (including saddle) and horse started at 20% (BWR20), was increased to 25% (BWR25), 30% (BWR30), and 35% (BWR35) and finally decreased to 20% (BWR20b). Between phases, the horses were stopped (~5.5 min) to add lead weights to specially adjusted saddle bags and a vest on the rider. Heart rate was measured during warm-up, the exercise test and after 5, 15 and 30 min of recovery and blood samples were taken and BF recorded at rest, and at end of each of these aforementioned occasions. Rectal temperature was measured at rest, at end of the exercise test and after a 30-min recovery period. Body size and body condition score (BCS) were registered and a clinical examination performed on the day before the test and for 2 days after. Heart rate and BF increased linearly (P<0.05) and Lac exponentially (P<0.05) with increasing BWR. The W4 was 22.7±4.3% (individual range 17.0% to 27.5%). There was a positive correlation between back BCS and W4 (r=0.75; P=0.032), but no other correlations between body measurements and W4 were found. Hematocrit was not affected by BWR (P>0.05), but negative correlations (P<0.05) existed between body size measurements and Hct. While HR, Hct and BF recovered to values at rest within 30 min, Lac and RT did not. All horses had no clinical remarks on palpation and at walk 1 and 2 days after the test. In conclusion, increasing BWR from 20% to 35% resulted in increased HR, Lac, RT and BF responses in the test group of experienced adult Icelandic riding horses. The horses mainly worked aerobically until BWR reached 22.7%, but considerable individual differences (17.0% to 27.5%) existed that were not linked to horse size, but to back BCS.
In dairy cows, subjected to a G6G protocol, objectives were to determine effects of (1) extending the interval from prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) during presynchronization; and (2) adding a second PGF2α treatment before artificial insemination (AI), on ovarian response, plasma progesterone (P4) concentrations and pregnancy per AI (P/AI). In a 2×2 factorial design, lactating cows were randomly assigned to one of four timed AI (TAI) protocols: (1) G6G (n=149), one injection of PGF2α, GnRH 2 days later and a 7-day Ovsynch (GnRH, 7 days, PGF2α, 56 h, GnRH, 16 h, TAI) was initiated 6 days later; (2) G6GP (n=144), an additional PGF2α treatment (24 h after the first) during Ovsynch of the G6G protocol; (3) MG6G, one injection of PGF2α, GnRH 4 days later before initiation of the G6G protocol; and (4) MG6GP, an additional PGF2α treatment (24 h after the first) during Ovsynch of the MG6G protocol. Blood samples were collected (subset of 200 cows) at first GnRH and PGF2α of the Ovsynch, and at TAI to measure P4. Ultrasound examinations were performed in a subset of 406 cows to evaluate ovarian response at various times of Ovsynch, and in all cattle to determine pregnancy status at 32 and 60 days after TAI. Extending the interval by 2 days between PGF2α and GnRH during presynchronization increased (P<0.01) ovulatory response to first GnRH of Ovsynch, circulating P4 during Ovsynch, and P/AI at 32 and 60 days after TAI. Adding a second PGF2α treatment before AI increased the proportion of cows with luteal regression (P=0.04), improved P/AI at 60 days after TAI (P=0.05), and reduced pregnancy loss between 30 and 60 days after TAI (P=0.04). In summary, extending the interval from PGF2α to GnRH during presynchronization increased response to first GnRH of Ovsynch and P4 concentrations during Ovsynch, whereas adding a second PGF2α treatment before AI enhanced luteal regression. Both modifications of the G6G protocol improved fertility in lactating dairy cows.
The buffalo has a seasonal reproduction activity with mating and non-mating periods occurring from late autumn to winter and from late spring to beginning of autumn, respectively. Sperm glycocalyx plays an important role in reproduction as it is the first interface between sperm and environment. Semen quality is poorer during non-mating periods, so we aimed to evaluate if there were also seasonal differences in the surface glycosylation pattern of mating period spermatozoa (MPS) compared with non-mating period spermatozoa (NMPS). The complexity of carbohydrate structures makes their analysis challenging, and recently the high-throughput microarray approach is now providing a new tool into the evaluation of cell glycosylation status. We adopted a novel procedure in which spermatozoa was spotted on microarray slides, incubated with a panel of 12 biotinylated lectins and Cy3-conjugated streptavidin, and then signal intensity was detected using a microarray scanner. Both MPS and NMPS microarrays reacted with all the lectins and revealed that the expression of (i) O-glycans with NeuNAcα2-3Galβ1,3(±NeuNAcα2-6)GalNAc, Galβ1,3GalNAc and GalNAcα1,3(l-Fucα1,2)Galβ1,3/4GlcNAcβ1 was not season dependent; (ii) O-linked glycans terminating with GalNAc, asialo N-linked glycans terminating with Galβ1,4GlcNAc, GlcNAc, as well as α1,6 and α1,2-linked fucosylated oligosaccharides was predominant in MPS; (iii) high mannose- and biantennary complex types N-glycans terminating with α2,6 sialic acids and terminal galactose were lower in MPS. Overall, this innovative cell microarray method was able to identify specific glycosylation changes that occur on buffalo bull sperm surface during the mating and non-mating periods.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) play a regulatory role in various physiological processes in mammals and act as endogenous ligands for the G protein-coupled receptors (GPR) 41 and 43. The role of GPR41 and GPR43 in mediating SCFA signaling in the rabbit remains unclear. The present study was to investigate the sequence of the GPR41 and GPR43 messenger RNA (mRNA) and their expression pattern in different tissues and developmental stages in New Zealand rabbit. Comparison of genomic sequences in GenBank using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool program suggested that the New Zealand rabbit GPR41 mRNA has high similarities with the human (84%), bovine (84%) and Capra hircus (84%) genes. Similarly, GPR43 mRNA has high similarity with the rat (84%) and mouse (84%) genes. Real-time PCR results indicated that GPR41 and GPR43 mRNA were expressed throughout rabbit’s whole development and were expressed in several tissues. G protein-coupled receptor 41 and GPR43 mRNA were most highly expressed in pancreas (P<0.05) and s.c. adipose tissue (P<0.05), respectively. The expression levels of GPR41 mRNA was down-regulated in duodenum, cecum (P<0.05) and pancreas and up-regulated in jejunum, ileum, adipose tissue and spleen during growth. G protein-coupled receptor 43GPR43 mRNA was highly expressed in the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, cecum and lung at 15th day (P<0.05), whereas the expression levels in the pancreas and spleen increased later after birth, with the highest expression at 60th day (P<0.05).
We aimed to evaluate the effects of acute heat stress (HS) and age on the redox state in broilers aged 21 and 42 days. We evaluated the expression of genes related to antioxidant capacity, the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the liver, as well as oxidative stress markers in the liver and plasma. The experiment had a completely randomized factorial design with two thermal environments (thermoneutral and HS, 38°C for 24 h) and two ages (21 and 42 days). Twenty-one-day-old animals exposed to HS showed the highest thioredoxin reductase 1 (TrxR1) (P<0.0001) and glutathione synthetase (GSS) (P<0.0001) gene expression levels. Age influenced the expression of the thioredoxin (Trx) (P=0.0090), superoxide dismutase (SOD) (P=0.0194), glutathione reductase (GSR) (P<0.0001) and glutathione peroxidase 7 (GPx7) (P<0.0001) genes; we observed greater expression in birds at 21 days than at 42 days. Forty-two-day-old HS birds showed the highest H2O2 production (222.31 pmol dichlorofluorescein produced/min×mg mitochondrial protein). We also verified the effects of age and environment on the liver content of Glutathione (GSH) (P<0.0001 and P=0.0039, respectively) and catalase (CAT) enzyme activity (P=0.0007 and P=0.0004, respectively). Higher GSH content and lower CAT activity were observed in animals from the thermoneutral environment compared with the HS environment and in animals at 21 days compared with 42 days. Broilers at 42 days of age had higher plasma creatinine content (0.05 v. 0.01 mg/dl) and higher aspartate aminotransferase activity (546.50 v. 230.67 U/l) than chickens at 21 days of age. Our results suggest that under HS conditions, in which there is higher H2O2 production, 21-day-old broilers have greater antioxidant capacity than 42-day-old animals.
The effects of egg storage duration (ESD) and brooding temperature (BT) on BW, intestine development and nutrient transporters of broiler chicks were investigated. A total of 396 chicks obtained from eggs stored at 18°C for 3 days (ESD3-18°C) or at 14°C for 14 days (ESD14-14°C) before incubation were exposed to three BTs. Temperatures were initially set at 32°C, 34°C and 30°C for control (BT-Cont), high (BT-High) and low (BT-Low) BTs, respectively. Brooding temperatures were decreased by 2°C each at days 2, 7, 14 and 21. Body weight was measured at the day of hatch, 2, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 42. Cloacal temperatures of broilers were recorded from 1 to 14 days. Intestinal morphology and gene expression levels of H+-dependent peptide transporter (PepT1) and Na-dependent glucose (SGLT1) were evaluated on the day of hatch and 14. Cloacal temperatures of chicks were affected by BTs from days 1 to 8, being the lowest for BT-Low chicks. BT-High resulted in the heaviest BWs at 7 days, especially for ESD14-14°C chicks. This result was consistent with longer villus and larger villus area of ESD14-14°C chicks at BT-High conditions. From 14 days to slaughter age, BT had no effect on broiler weight. ESD3-18°C chicks were heavier than ESD14-14°C chicks up to 28 days. The PepT1 and SGLT1 expression levels were significantly higher in ESD3-18°C chicks than ESD14-14°C on the day of hatch. There was significant egg storage by BT interaction for PepT1 and SGLT1 transporters at day 14. ESD14-14°C chicks had significantly higher expression of PepT1 and SGLT1 at BT-Low than those at BT-Cont. ESD14-14°C chicks upregulated PepT1 gene expression 1.15 and 1.57-fold at BT-High and BT-Low, respectively, compared with BT-Cont, whereas PepT1 expression was downregulated 0.67 and 0.62-fold in ESD3-18°C chicks at BT-High and BT-Low. These results indicated that pre-incubation egg storage conditions and BTs affected intestine morphology and PepT1 and SGLT1 nutrient transporters expression in broiler chicks.
The improvement in porcine embryo preservation and non-surgical embryo transfer (ET) procedures achieved in recent years represents essential progress for the practical use of ET in the pig industry. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of parity, weaning-to-estrus interval (WEI) and season on reproductive and embryonic parameters at day 6 after insemination of donor sows superovulated after weaning. The selection of donor sows was based on their reproductive history, body condition and parity. The effects of parity at weaning (2 to 3, 4 to 5 or 6 to 7 litters), season (fall, winter and spring), and WEI (estrus within 3 to 4 days), and their interactions on the number of corpus luteum, cysts in sows with cysts, number and quality of viable and transferable embryos, embryo developmental stage and recovery and fertilization rates were evaluated using linear mixed effects models. The analyses showed a lack of significant effects of parity, season, WEI or their interactions on any of the reproductive and embryonic parameters examined. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that fertilization rates and numbers of viable and transferable embryos collected at day 6 of the cycle from superovulated donor sows are not affected by their parity, regardless of the time of the year (from fall to spring) and WEI (3 or 4 days).
A recently developed mechanistic mathematical model of the bovine estrous cycle was parameterized to fit empirical data sets collected during one estrous cycle of 31 individual cows, with the main objective to further validate the model. The a priori criteria for validation were (1) the resulting model can simulate the measured data correctly (i.e. goodness of fit), and (2) this is achieved without needing extreme, probably non-physiological parameter values. We used a least squares optimization procedure to identify parameter configurations for the mathematical model to fit the empirical in vivo measurements of follicle and corpus luteum sizes, and the plasma concentrations of progesterone, estradiol, FSH and LH for each cow. The model was capable of accommodating normal variation in estrous cycle characteristics of individual cows. With the parameter sets estimated for the individual cows, the model behavior changed for 21 cows, with improved fit of the simulated output curves for 18 of these 21 cows. Moreover, the number of follicular waves was predicted correctly for 18 of the 25 two-wave and three-wave cows, without extreme parameter value changes. Estimation of specific parameters confirmed results of previous model simulations indicating that parameters involved in luteolytic signaling are very important for regulation of general estrous cycle characteristics, and are likely responsible for differences in estrous cycle characteristics between cows.
Exposure of rabbit bucks to summer heat stress reduces their homeostasis and semen quality leading to a temporal subfertility. The potentiality of ethanolic extract of Moringa oleifera leaves (M. oleifera ethanolic extract (MLEE)) to reduce negative impacts of heat stress on physiological and semen quality traits was investigated. A total of 28 adult V-line rabbit bucks were randomly distributed among four experimental groups of seven rabbits each. The first group received water (placebo) and served as a control (M0). The other three groups were given orally MLEE at levels of 50 (M50), 100 (M100) and 150 (M150) mg/kg BW every other day for 12 consecutive weeks during the summer season. Chemical constituents of MLEE were detected by gas chromatography/MS. During the experimental period, ambient temperature and relative humidity were recorded daily and were used to estimate temperature and humidity index. Feed intake, BW, rectal temperature were recorded and blood serum biochemical attributes were determined. Semen samples were collected weekly and were analyzed for semen quality traits. Results showed that MLEE contained high percentages of long-chain fatty acids and antioxidant agents. Feed intake and BW were not affected significantly by the treatment, however rectal temperature was decreased significantly by 0.42°C, 0.24°C and 0.40°C in the M50, M100 and M150 groups, respectively, compared with the M0 group. Treatment with 50 mg/kg BW increased concentration of serum albumin (115%; P<0.05), total antioxidant capacity (132%; P<0.05) and testosterone (160%; P=0.098) as well as seminal plasma initial fructose (127%; P=0.092) compared with the control group. Compared with the control, MLEE supplementation with 50, 100 and 150 mg/kg BW increased significantly sperm concentration by 118%, 151% and 158%, sperm progressive motility by 117%, 120% and 118%, sperm viability by 129%, 137% and 127%, sperm normal morphology by 114%, 113% and 114%, intact acrosome sperm by 109% (on average) and sperm with integrated cell membrane by 109%, 123% and 114%, respectively. In conclusion, MLEE supplementation at a level of 50 mg/kg BW could be effectively used to improve heat tolerance, oxidative status and semen quality of rabbit bucks during summer season.
Knowledge of tissue and cuts growth depending on the sex could be used to improve performance and efficiency. Computed tomography (CT) is a non-invasive technology that enables the study of the body composition of live animals during growth. The aims of the present study were (1) to evaluate variation in the body composition of four sex types (SEX) of pigs (castrated males (CM), immunocastrated males (IM), entire males (EM) and females (FE)) at the live weight of 30, 70, 100 and 120 kg, assessed using CT; (2) to model the growth of the main tissues and cuts; and (3) to predict the mature BW (MBW) of the four SEX and establish the relationships between the growth models and the MBW. There were significant phenotypic differences in the allometric growth of fat and lean among SEX. For the lean tissue, FE and EM showed higher values of the b coefficient than CM and IM (1.07 and 1.07 v. 1.00 and 1.02, respectively) all of them close to unity, indicating a proportional growth rate similar to live weight and that this tissue developed faster in FE and EM than in CM and IM. However, these differences were not related to differences in estimated MBW. There were significant differences in estimated MBW among SEX, being higher in IM and EM than in CM and FE (303 and 247 v. 219 and 216 kg), however, the MBW may have been overestimated, especially for the IM. The poorer accuracy of the MBW estimate for the IM could be due to a maximum live weight of 120 kg in the experiment, or to the fact that this particular SEX presented two clear behaviours, being more similar to EM from birth to the second injection of the vaccine (130 days) and comparable with CM from that point to the final BW.
In 1990, two selection lines of Merino sheep were established for low and high behavioural reactivity (calm and nervous temperament) at the University of Western Australia. Breeding records consistently showed that calm ewes weaned 10% to 19% more lambs than the nervous ewes. We hypothesise that calm ewes could have a higher ovulation rate than nervous ewes and/or calm ewes could have a lower rate of embryo mortality than nervous ewes. We tested these hypotheses by comparing the ovulation rate and the rate of embryo mortality between the calm and nervous lines before and after synchronisation and artificial insemination. Merino ewes from the temperament selection lines (calm, n=100; nervous, n=100) were synchronised (early breeding season) for artificial insemination (day 0) (intravaginal sponges containing fluogestone acetate and eCG immediately after sponge withdrawal). On day-17 and 11 ovarian cyclicity and corpora lutea, and on days 30 and 74 pregnancies and embryos/foetuses were determined by ultrasound. Progesterone, insulin and leptin concentrations were determined in blood plasma samples from days 5, 12 and 17. Ovarian cyclicity before and after oestrus synchronisation did not differ between the lines, but ovulation rate did (day-17: calm 1.63; nervous 1.26; P<0.01; day 11: calm 1.83; nervous 1.57; P<0.05). Ovulation rate on day 11 in nervous ewes was higher than on day-17. Loss of embryos by day 30 was high (calm: 71/150; nervous: 68/130); but nervous ewes had a lower proportion (15/47) of multiple pregnancies compared with calm ewes (30/46; P<0.01). Reproductive loss between days 30 and 74 represented 7.3% of the overall loss. Temperament did not affect concentrations of progesterone, but nervous ewes had higher insulin (32.0 pmol/l±1.17 SEM; P=0.013) and lower leptin (1.18 μg/l±0.04 SEM; P=0.002) concentrations than calm ewes (insulin: 27.8 pmol/l±1.17 SEM; leptin: 1.35 μg/l±0.04 SEM). The differences in reproductive outcomes between the calm and nervous ewes were mainly due to a higher ovulation rate in calm ewes. We suggest that reproduction in nervous ewes is compromised by factors leading up to ovulation and conception, or the uterine environment during early pregnancy, that reflect differences in energy utilisation.