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Increased animal productivity has reduced animal fitness, resulting in increased susceptibility to infectious and metabolic diseases, locomotion problems and subfertility. Future animal breeding strategies should focus on balancing high production levels with health status monitoring and improved welfare. Additionally, understanding how animals interact with their internal and external environment is essential for improving health, fitness, and welfare. In this context, the continuous validation of existing biomarkers and the discovery and field implementation of new biomarkers will enable us to understand the specific physiological process and regulatory mechanisms used by the organism to adapt to different environmental conditions. Thus, biomarkers may be used to monitor welfare and improve management and breeding strategies. In this article, we describe major achievements in the establishment of biomarkers in dairy cows and small ruminants. This review mainly focuses on the physiological biomarkers used to monitor animal responses to, and recovery from, environmental perturbations. We highlight future avenues for research in this field and present a timely positioning document to the scientific community.
Among children exposed to elevated maternal depression symptoms (MDS), recent studies have demonstrated reduced internalizing and externalizing problems for those who have attended formal childcare (i.e., center-based, family-based childcare). However, these studies did not consider whether childcare attendance is associated with benefits for the child only or also with reduced MDS. Using a four-wave longitudinal cross-lagged model, we evaluated whether formal childcare attendance was associated with MDS or child behavior problems and whether it moderated longitudinal associations between MDS and child behavior problems and between child behavior problems and MDS. The sample was drawn from a population-based cohort study and consisted of 908 biologically related mother–child dyads, followed from 5 months to 5 years. Attending formal childcare was not associated with MDS or child behavior problems but moderated the association between MDS at 3.5 years and child internalizing and externalizing problems at 5 years as well as between girls’ externalizing problems at 3.5 years and MDS at 5 years. No other moderation of formal childcare was found. Findings suggest that attending formal childcare reduces the risks of behavior problems in the context of MDS but also the risk of MDS in the context of girls’ externalizing problems.
Calcium homeostasis is crucial for the normal function of the organism. Parathyroid hormone, calcitriol and calcitonin play critical roles in the homeostatic regulation of calcium. Serotonin and prolactin have also been shown to be involved in the regulation of calcium homeostasis. In modern dairy cows, the endocrine pathways controlling calcium homeostasis during non-lactating and non-pregnant physiological states are unable to fully support the increased demand of calcium required for milk synthesis at the onset of lactation. This review describes different endocrine systems associated with the regulation of calcium homeostasis in mammalian species around parturition with special focus on dairy cows. Additionally, classic and novel strategies to reduce the incidence of hypocalcemia in parturient dairy cows are discussed.
We investigated the distribution of comorbidities among adult tuberculosis (TB) patients in Chiapas, the poorest Mexican state, with a high presence of indigenous population, and a corridor for migrants from Latin America. Secondary analysis on 5508 new adult TB patients diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 revealed that the most prevalent comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (DM; 19.1%) and undernutrition (14.4%). The prevalence of DM in these TB patients was significantly higher among middle aged (41–64 years) compared with older adults (⩾65 years) (38.6% vs. 23.2%; P < 0.0001). The prevalence of undernutrition was lower among those with DM, and higher in communities with high indigenous presence. Immigrants only comprised 2% of all TB cases, but were more likely to have unfavourable TB treatment outcomes (treatment failure, death and default) when compared with those born in Chiapas (29.5% vs. 11.1%; P < 0.05). Unfavourable TB outcomes were also more prevalent among the TB patients with undernutrition, HIV or older age, but not DM (P < 0.05). Our study in Chiapas illustrates the challenges of other regions worldwide where social (e.g. indigenous origin, poverty, migration) and host factors (DM, undernutrition, HIV, older age) are associated with TB. Further understanding of these critical factors will guide local policy makers and health providers to improve TB management.
During the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), feedback effects reduce the efficiency of star formation process in small halos or even fully quench it. The galaxy luminosity function (LF) may then turn over at the faint-end. We analyze the number counts of z > 5 galaxies observed in the fields of four Frontier Fields (FFs) clusters and obtain constraints on the LF faint-end: for the turn-over magnitude at z ∼ 6, MUVT ≳-13.3; for the circular velocity threshold of quenching star formation process, vc* ≲ 47 km s−1. We have not yet found significant evidence of the presence of feedback effects suppressing the star formation in small galaxies.
Oxytocin release, milking characteristics, and teat condition were investigated with reduced claw vacuum and pulsation settings compared to milking at regular settings with or without pre-stimulation. The reduced vacuum and pulsation settings during low milk flow are expected to protect the teat tissue before the occurrence of milk ejection at the start of milking, and at the end of milking during a potential overmilking period, i.e. at a milk flow <200 g/min. Seven cows were machine-milked either after a 60 s manual pre-stimulation, or without pre-stimulation and reduced vacuum and pulsation settings, or at full vacuum and normal pulsation during the start of milking. Plasma oxytocin (OT) concentration increased similarly in response to manual pre-stimulation and to both milking with reduced, or with full vacuum and pulsation settings, however delayed by 1 min if the cluster was attached without pre-stimulation. In all treatments OT concentrations remained elevated throughout milking. Milk flow curves were mostly non-bimodal at milkings after manual pre-stimulation and bimodal at milkings without pre-stimulation. The main milking time was shorter and average milk flow was higher during milking after pre-stimulation, but did not differ between treatments without pre-stimulation. Milk yields and peak flow rates were not affected by treatments. Either reduced or full vacuum settings were again applied during an intended overmilking from 200 to 100 g/min of milk flow towards the end of milk harvest. Pre-milking teat ultrasound cross sections were recorded one day before the experiment started. Post-milking ultrasound cross sections were performed at 15 min after each experimental milking. Teat wall thickness was increased after milking as compared to pre-milking but did not differ among treatments. In conclusion, OT release and milking performance are similar if milking is performed with pre-stimulation, or without pre-stimulation but reduced claw vacuum and b-phase during low milk flow.
Goat dairy products are an important source of animal protein in the tropics. During the dry season, pasture scarcity leads animals to lose up to 40% of their body weight, a condition known as Seasonal Weight Loss (SWL) that is one of the major constraints in ruminant production. Breeds with high tolerance to SWL are relevant to understand the physiological responses to pasture scarcity so they could be used in programs for animal breeding. In the Canary Islands there are two dairy goat breeds with different levels of tolerance to SWL: the Palmera, susceptible to SWL; and the Majorera, tolerant to SWL. Fat is one of the milk components most affected by environmental and physiological conditions. This study hypothesises that feed-restriction affects Majorera and Palmera breeds differently, leading to different fatty acid profiles in the mammary gland and milk. An interaction between breed and feed-restriction was observed in the mammary gland. Feed-restriction was associated with an increase in oleic acid and a decrease in palmitic acid percentage in the Palmera breed whereas no differences were observed in the Majorera breed. Palmitic and oleic acids together constituted around 60% of the total fatty acids identified, which suggests that Palmera breed is more susceptible to SWL. In milk, feed-restriction affected both breeds similarly. Regarding the interaction of the breed with the treatment, we also observed similar responses in both breeds, but this influence affects only around 2% of the total fatty acids. In general, Majorera breed is more tolerant to feed-restriction.
Colostrum and milk feeding are key factors for the newborn ruminant survival, affecting the future performance of the animal. Nowadays, there is an increasing interest in the potential of feeding newborn ruminants (mainly goat kids and lambs) with colostrum and milk from other more productive ruminant species (mainly cows). Although some studies regarding differences between colostrum and milk from these three species have been performed, herein we conduct for the first time a comparison using a proteomics 2-Dimensional Electrophoresis gel-based approach between these three ruminant species. In this study colostrum and milk samples from six Holstein cows, six Canarian sheep and six Majorera goats were used to determine the chemical composition, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) concentrations and proteomics profiles. Results showed that in general sheep colostrum and milk contained higher fat, protein and lactose percentages compared to bovine and goat samples. Additionally, no differences in the IgG or IgM concentrations were found among any of the three studied species, with the exception of sheep colostrum that showed the highest IgM concentration. With reference to the proteomics-based approach, some high abundant proteins such as serum albumin precursor, beta-caseins or different immunoglobulins components were found in colostrum, milk or even both. Nevertheless, differences in other proteins with immune function such as serotransferrin or lactoperoxidase were detected. This study shows that despite the similar immunoglobulin concentrations in colostrum and milk from the three studied species, differences in several immune components can be detected when these samples are studied using a proteomics approach. Finally, this study also provides a base for future investigation in colostrum and milk proteomics and metabolomics.
Objectives: Clinical neuroscience is increasingly turning to imaging the human brain for answers to a range of questions and challenges. To date, the majority of studies have focused on the neural basis of current psychiatric symptoms, which can facilitate the identification of neurobiological markers for diagnosis. However, the increasing availability and feasibility of using imaging modalities, such as diffusion imaging and resting-state fMRI, enable longitudinal mapping of brain development. This shift in the field is opening the possibility of identifying predictive markers of risk or prognosis, and also represents a critical missing element for efforts to promote personalized or individualized medicine in psychiatry (i.e., stratified psychiatry). Methods: The present work provides a selective review of potentially high-yield populations for longitudinal examination with MRI, based upon our understanding of risk from epidemiologic studies and initial MRI findings. Results: Our discussion is organized into three topic areas: (1) practical considerations for establishing temporal precedence in psychiatric research; (2) readiness of the field for conducting longitudinal MRI, particularly for neurodevelopmental questions; and (3) illustrations of high-yield populations and time windows for examination that can be used to rapidly generate meaningful and useful data. Particular emphasis is placed on the implementation of time-appropriate, developmentally informed longitudinal designs, capable of facilitating the identification of biomarkers predictive of risk and prognosis. Conclusions: Strategic longitudinal examination of the brain at-risk has the potential to bring the concepts of early intervention and prevention to psychiatry. (JINS, 2016, 22, 164–179)
Feed restriction, and seasonal weight loss (SWL), are major setbacks for animal production in the tropics and the Mediterranean. They may be solved through the use of autochthonous breeds particularly well adapted to SWL. It is therefore of major importance to determine markers of tolerance to feed restriction of putative use in animal selection. Two indigenous breeds from the Canary Islands, Palmera and Majorera, are commonly used by dairy goat farmers and, interestingly, have different phenotype characteristics albeit with a common ancestry. Indeed, Majorera is well adapted to feed restriction whereas the Palmera is susceptible to feed restriction. In addition, regardless of their importance in dairy production, there are only a limited number of reports relating to these breeds and, to the best of our knowledge, there is no description of their blood metabolite standard values under control conditions or as affected by feed restriction. In this study we analysed the blood metabolite profiles in Majorera and Palmera goats aiming to establish the differential responses to feed restriction between the two breeds and to characterise their metabolite standard values under control conditions. We observed significant differences in creatinine, urea, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), cholesterol, IGF-1 and T3 due to underfeeding. Furthermore, a PCA analysis, revealed that animals submitted to undernutrition could be distinguished from the control groups, with the formation of three separate clusters (Palmera individuals after 22 d of subnutrition (PE22); Majorera individuals after 22 d of subnutrition (ME22) and animals assigned to control conditions (MC0, MC22, PC0 and PC22)), highlighting different responses of the two breeds to undernutrition.
To investigate the relative importance of long-distance dispersal vs. diffusion in the invasion of a nonnative plant, we used age structure to infer the contribution to recruitment of external propagule rain vs. within-population reproduction. We quantified the age structure of 14 populations of Amur honeysuckle in a landscape where it recently invaded, in Darke County, OH. We sampled the largest honeysuckle individuals in each population (woodlots), and aged these by counting annual rings in stem cross sections. Individuals in the oldest four 1-yr age classes are assumed to be from external recruitment, given the minimum age at which shrubs reproduce. We used these recruitment rates to model external recruitment over the next 5 yr and used observed age structures to estimate total recruitment. We used the difference between total and external recruitment to infer the rate of internal recruitment. Our findings indicate that recruitment from within the population is of about the same magnitude as immigration in the fifth to seventh year after population establishment, but by years 8 to 9 internal recruitment dominates. At the landscape scale, the temporal-spatial pattern of population establishment supports a stratified dispersal model, with the earliest populations establishing in widely spaced woodlots, about 4 km from existing populations, and these serving as “nascent foci” for diffusion to nearby woodlots. Understanding the relative importance of long-distance dispersal vs. diffusion will inform management, e.g., whether it is more effective to scout for isolated shrubs or remove reproducing shrubs at the edge of invaded areas.
The importance of small ruminants to the dairy industry has increased in recent years, especially in developing countries, where it has a high economic and social impact. Interestingly and despite the fact that the mammary gland is the specialised milk production organ, very few authors studied the modifications occurring in the mammary gland through the lactation period in production animals, particularly in the small ruminants, sheep (Ovis aries) and goat (Capra hircus). Nevertheless, understanding the different mammary gland patterns throughout lactation is essential to improve dairy production. In addition, associating these patterns with different milking frequencies, lactation number or different diets is also of high importance, directly affecting the dairy industry. The mammary gland is commonly composed of parenchyma and stroma, which includes the ductal system, with individual proportions of each changing during the different periods and yields in a lactation cycle. Indeed, during late gestation, as well as during early to mid-lactation, mammary gland expansion occurs, with an increase in the number of epithelial cells and lumen area, which leads to increment of the parenchyma tissue, as well as a reduction of stroma, corresponding macroscopically to the increase in mammary gland volume. Throughout late lactation, the mammary gland volume decreases owing to the regression of the secretory structure. In general, common mammary gland patterns have been shown for both goats and sheep throughout the several lactation stages, although the number of studies is limited. The main objective of this manuscript is to review the colostrogenesis and lactogenesis processes as well as to highlight the mammary gland morphological patterns underlying milk production during the lactation cycle for small ruminants, and to describe potential differences between goats and sheep, hence contributing to a better description of mammary gland development during lactation for these two poorly studied species.
Piglet body composition at weaning could be a determinant for pig’s viability and may be influenced by factors such as the nutritional management followed during suckling. An experiment was conducted to study whether intermittent suckling (IS) affects body composition at weaning and nutrient and energy retention during a 34-day lactation period in Iberian piglets. Litters were subjected to conventional suckling (CS) or IS (n=10 litters of six piglets per treatment) in two trials. All piglets had ad libitum access to creep feed from day 15 onwards. In IS, piglets were progressively separated from the sow for 6, 8 and 10 h daily during the last week of lactation, whereas in CS piglets had continuous access to their dams. Creep feed intake in litters and BW development of individual piglets were measured throughout the 34-day lactation. Within each litter, both at birth and at weaning (day 35), one piglet was used to assess nutrient retention and body composition by the comparative slaughter approach. During days 29 to 35 of the experiment, daily creep feed intake was greater in IS piglets (IS 124, CS 67 g/piglet, P=0.040), and average daily gain differed significantly between groups (IS 190, CS 150 g/day, P=0.010). BW at weaning was higher in the IS than in the CS piglets (IS 8.19, CS 7.48 kg, P=0.011). Empty-body fat and energy content at weaning were higher in the IS compared with CS litters, as well as fat content in the carcass (P=0.04). The IS treatment did not affect empty-body protein deposition, but significantly increased daily retention of fat, energy, ash and calcium, compared with CS litters (P<0.05). Thus, IS in Iberian piglets seems to enhance feed intake, growth rate and retention of some body components, which may contribute to a higher body fat content at weaning and facilitate the weaning process.
A mean-shift clustering (MSC) algorithm is introduced as a valuable alternative to perform materials phase classification from multispectral images. As opposed to other multivariate statistical techniques, such as factor analysis or principal component analysis (PCA), clustering techniques directly assign a class label to each pixel, so that their outputs are phase segmented images, i.e., there is no need for an additional segmentation algorithm. On the other hand, as compared to other clustering procedures and classification methods, such as segmentation by thresholding of multiple spectral components, MSC has the advantages of not requiring previous knowledge of the number of data clusters and not assuming any shape for these clusters, i.e., neither the number nor the composition of the phases must be previously known. This makes MSC a particularly useful tool for exploratory research, assisting phase identification of unknown samples. Visualization and interpretation of the results are also simplified, since the information content of the output image does not depend on the particular choice of the content of the color channels. We applied MSC to the analysis of two sets of X-ray maps acquired in scanning electron microscopes equipped with energy-dispersive detection systems. Our results indicate that MSC is capable of detecting additional phases, not clearly identified through PCA or multiple thresholding, with a very low empirical reject rate.