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Pirault P.,Agro ParisTech | Danvy S.,Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation | Verrier E.,Agro ParisTech | Verrier E.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Since horse breeds constitute populations submitted to variable and multiple outcrossing events, we analyzed the genetic structure and gene flows considering horses raised in France. We used genealogical data, with a reference population of 547,620 horses born in France between 2002 and 2011, grouped according to 55 breed origins. On average, individuals had 6.3 equivalent generations known. Considering different population levels, fixation index decreased from an overall species FIT of 1.37%, to an average F̄IS of -0.07% when considering the 55 origins, showing that most horse breeds constitute populations without genetic structure. We illustrate the complexity of gene flows existing among horse breeds, a few populations being closed to foreign influence, most, however, being submitted to various levels of introgression. In particular, Thoroughbred and Arab breeds are largely used as introgression sources, since those two populations explain together 26% of founder origins within the overall horse population. When compared with molecular data, breeds with a small level of coancestry also showed low genetic distance; the gene pool of the breeds was probably impacted by their reproducer exchanges. © 2013 Pirault et al.

Coulon M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Nowak R.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Nowak R.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Nowak R.,University of Tours | And 7 more authors.
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2013

Friendly interactions between humans and animals such as gentling or petting have been shown to have positive behavioural and physiological consequences in many species. In primates, rodents and dogs, oxytocin has been associated with tactile contact and anti-stress effects that may influence bonding and responses to stress situations. However the activation of the oxytocinergic system in other human-animal interactions such as with herbivores, had not yet been studied. Sixteen female lambs were reared by artificial feeding reinforced with 3× 30. s daily stroking sessions. At 6 weeks of age, the test consisted in measuring first plasma oxytocin and cortisol responses in lambs during a first 6-min phase in the home pen where the familiar caregiver gently stroked the lamb, and then physiological and behavioural responses in a test pen during a 20-min - phase of social isolation followed by a 20-min - phase of reunion with its familiar caregiver. The lambs expressed behavioural agitation during the whole period of isolation. A strong affiliative response towards the human and a sustained reduction of the agitation behaviour were observed during reunion. Lambs' behaviours when isolated and when in contact with the human were correlated suggesting a response to social separation from the familiar caregiver more than to social isolation from congeners. No significant changes in cortisol levels were observed during the test. Oxytocin levels did not vary during human contact, but increased when the familiar caregiver left the lamb alone in the test pen. In conclusion, lambs displayed affiliative responses towards their caregiver, and the lack of cortisol response during isolation while oxytocin was released suggest an anti-stress effect of oxytocin. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Nowak R.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Nowak R.,University of Tours | Nowak R.,Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation | Boivin X.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Boivin X.,VetAgro Sup
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2015

Animals develop relationships with intra- and interspecific partners, including humans. In some cases this can lead to strong emotional bonds indicating the existence of attachment. The sheep is well known to develop various forms of social attachment (mothers towards young, lambs towards siblings). The relationship they can develop with humans is much less understood. In this review, based on the attachment theory framework developed in human infants, we outline features and mechanisms that participate in the development and the expression of affiliative behaviours that lambs can develop with their mother or a human. Behavioural tests comparing responses towards a presumed attachment figure with those directed towards unfamiliar or familiar conspecifics demonstrate that lambs do search specifically the proximity of their mother or human caregiver. Differential emotional responses in the presence (calmness) or the absence of the partner (agitation) are also expressed. However, a relationship with a human takes place more easily when lambs are reared without their primary attachment figure, the mother. Human-lamb attachment is then facilitated by positive social contacts (gentling, hand-feeding) provided by a specific caregiver. In the case of attachment with the mother, suckling is the main reward. Although the existence of a sensitive period is still unclear, in both cases attachment develops more rapidly if positive interactions take place immediately after birth. Three neurochemical systems have profound impact on the expression of filial attachment in sheep: the gut peptide cholecystokinin, endogenous opioids, and oxytocin, all known to play a key role in prosocial behaviours in mammals. In addition, positive nutritive or non-nutritive interactions activate specific brain regions that are involved in the expression of social and emotional behaviours. In conclusion, lambs do develop intra- and interspecific attachment but not in a concomitant manner as the presence of the mother strongly reduces their motivation to interact with a human. Nonetheless, under artificial rearing conditions the human becomes a salient attachment figure. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Pillet E.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Pillet E.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Pillet E.,University of Tours | Duchamp G.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | And 8 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2011

Hen egg yolk is normally used as a cryoprotective agent in semen freezing extenders, but its use has sanitary and practical disadvantages. Moreover the protection afforded by egg yolk has not yet been completely elucidated. The objective of this study was to compare the egg yolk plasma fraction to whole egg yolk in stallion freezing extender. Plasma contains mainly Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which are widely presumed to be the cryoprotective agent in egg yolk. Plasma can be produced on an industrial scale, sterilised by gamma-irradiation and incorporated in a ready-to-use extender (our ultimate objective). Plasma samples were subjected to different doses of gamma-irradiation (3, 5, 10 kGy) without dramatic chemical changes that may affect their cryoprotective properties. Stallion semen was frozen with whole egg yolk as a control and with sterilised egg yolk plasma. A fertility trial was conducted on a total of 70 mares' cycles. Fertility per cycle was 60% after insemination of semen frozen in our control extender containing egg yolk (EY), compared to 69% for the extender containing sterilised egg yolk plasma (EYP) (P > 0.05). Post-thaw motility and membrane integrity of spermatozoa were also analysed. Motility parameters were not significantly different between extenders except for the variable VAP (for EY versus EYP, VAP: 63 μm.s-1 versus 59 μm.s-1, a, b: P < 0.001; PROG: 41% versus 39%, RAP30: 56% versus 54%; RAP40: 51% versus 48%, P > 0.05). Membrane integrity was better preserved in EY than in EYP but the difference between extenders was small (P < 0.05). Our results demonstrated that sterilised egg yolk plasma has the potential to replace egg yolk in stallion freezing extender. This experiment led to the development of a ready-to-use extender called INRA-Freeze® (IMV-Technologies, France). © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Dumont B.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Rossignol N.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Loucougaray G.,IRSTEA | Carrere P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 10 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2012

The stability of grazing-induced spatial patterns of vegetation was analyzed at two spatial scales (25m×20m areas and 1.6m×0.8m grids) in pastures of contrasting productivity (maximum standing biomass: 130-800gDM/m 2). At both scales, the mosaic of grazed and ungrazed patches was modeled as a Boolean process, calculating cross-variograms to quantify the temporal stability of grazing patterns and its links with local floristic composition were tested. The scale at which stability of vegetation patterns took place in two successive years depended on pasture productivity. Inter-annual stability of large-scale patterns mainly occurred in extensively used fertile pastures grazed by cattle, and in pastures grazed by horses. Less-fertile grasslands were mainly characterized by a fine-scale stability of grazing patterns. Stable fine-scale patterns were often related to the local abundance of legumes and forbs. Stable large-scale patterns of grazing within lightly grazed productive grasslands could result in divergent local vegetation dynamics, which can be seen as an opportunity for restoring biodiversity in fertile grasslands. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Franceschini I.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Franceschini I.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Franceschini I.,University of Tours | Franceschini I.,Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation | And 5 more authors.
Frontiers in Endocrinology | Year: 2013

The prominent role of the G protein coupled receptor GPR54 and its peptide ligand kisspeptin in the progression of puberty has been extensively documented in many mammalian species including humans. Kisspeptins are very potent gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretagogues produced by two main populations of neurons located in two ventral forebrain regions, the preoptic area and the arcuate nucleus. Within the last 2 years a substantial amount of data has accumulated concerning the development of these neuronal populations and their timely regulation by central and peripheral factors during fetal, neonatal, and peripubertal stages of development. This review focuses on the development of the kisspeptin-GPR54 system in the brain of female mice, rats, sheep, monkeys, and humans. We will also discuss the notion that this system represents a major target through which signals from the environment early in life can reprogram reproductive function. ©2013 Franceschini and Desroziers.

Schauer S.N.,Roslin Institute | Guillaume D.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Guillaume D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Guillaume D.,University of Tours | And 6 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2013

There is evidence in several species that high circulating LH concentrations can interfere with normal follicle development and ovulation. In the mare, high LH levels after induction of luteolysis with PGF2α have been temporally associated with an increased incidence of anovulatory follicles. We hypothesized that a premature increase in LH levels during a follicular wave in mares would disrupt normal follicle maturation leading to ovulatory dysfunction. In experiment 1, all follicles >10 mm were ablated at midestrous cycle in pony mares followed by twice daily administration of equine LH (eLH; 1.6 μg/kg body weight) or saline (vehicle; N = 8 mares per group). When a dominant follicle reached >32 mm, an ovulatory dose of hCG was given. Treatment with eLH had no effects on ovulatory responses or progesterone levels during the posttreatment luteal phase. In experiment 2, after follicle ablation, mares were treated with eLH or vehicle (as above) or were given a single injection of PGF2α (N = 7 mares per group), followed by aspiration of a dominant follicle when it reached >32 mm. Administration of eLH induced an increase in circulating LH levels similar to that after PGF2α injection. Neither PGF2α nor eLH administration had significant effects on follicle growth or total number of follicles in the postablation wave. However, compared with mares treated with vehicle, the preovulatory follicle in the eLH and PGF2α groups had lower levels of androstenedione (P = 0.03) and higher levels of insulin-like growth factor I (P = 0.03). Further, levels of prostaglandin E2 in preovulatory follicles tended to be lower in the eLH and PGF2α groups (P = 0.06). In conclusion, exposure of developing follicles to high LH in mares did not have apparent effects on ovulation but it induced changes in follicular fluid factor levels which might reflect a disruption in follicle and/or oocyte maturation, indicating the need to further study the implications of using PGF2α for the control of fertility in farm animals. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Dardente H.,CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors | Dardente H.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Dardente H.,University of Tours | Dardente H.,Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Endocrinology | Year: 2014

Living organisms show seasonality in a wide array of functions such as reproduction, fattening, hibernation, and migration. At temperate latitudes, changes in photoperiod maintain the alignment of annual rhythms with predictable changes in the environment. The appropriate physiological response to changing photoperiod in mammals requires retinal detection of light and pineal secretion of melatonin, but extraretinal detection of light occurs in birds. A common mechanism across all vertebrates is that these photoperiod-regulated systems alter hypothalamic thyroid hormone (TH) conversion. Here, we review the evidence that a circadian clock within the pars tuberalis of the adenohypophysis links photoperiod decoding to local changes of TH signaling within the medio-basal hypothalamus (MBH) through a conserved thyrotropin/deiodinase axis. We also focus on recent findings which indicate that, beyond the photoperiodic control of its conversion, TH might also be involved in longer-term timing processes of seasonal programs. Finally, we examine the potential implication of kisspeptin and RFRP3, two RF-amide peptides expressed within the MBH, in seasonal rhythmicity. © 2014 Dardente, Hazlerigg and Ebling.

von Lewinski M.,Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Sciences | Biau S.,Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation | Erber R.,University of Vienna | Ille N.,University of Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2013

Although some information exists on the stress response of horses in equestrian sports, the horse-rider team is much less well understood. In this study, salivary cortisol concentrations, heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), SDRR (standard deviation of beat-to-beat interval) and RMSSD (root mean square of successive beat-to-beat intervals) were analysed in horses and their riders (n= 6 each) at a public performance and an identical rehearsal that was not open to the public. Cortisol concentrations increased in both horses and riders (P< 0.001) but did not differ between performance and rehearsal. HR in horses and riders increased during the rehearsal and the public performance (P< 0.001) but the increase in HR was more pronounced (P< 0.01) in riders than in their horses during the public performance (from 91 ± 10 to 150 ± 15. beats/min) compared to the rehearsal (from 94 ± 10 to 118 ± 12. beats/min). The SDRR decreased significantly during the equestrian tasks in riders (P< 0.001), but not in their horses. The RMSSD decreased in horses and riders (P< 0.001) during rehearsal and performance, indicating a decrease in parasympathetic tone. The decrease in RMSSD in the riders was more pronounced (P< 0.05) during the performance (from 32.6 ± 6.6 to 3.8 ± 0.3. ms) than during the rehearsal (from 27.5 ± 4.2 to 6.6 ± 0.6. ms). The study has shown that the presence of spectators caused more pronounced changes in cardiac activity in the riders than it did in their horses. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

PubMed | Institute Francais Du Cheval Et Of Lequitation and Limoges University Hospital Center
Type: | Journal: Parasite (Paris, France) | Year: 2015

In France, some cases of severe toxoplasmosis have been linked to the consumption of horse meat that had been imported from the American continent where atypical strains of Toxoplasma gondii are more common than in Europe. Many seroprevalence studies are presented in the literature but risk assessment of T. gondii infection after horse meat consumption is not possible in the absence of validated serological tests and the unknown correlation between detection of antibodies against T. gondii and presence of tissue cysts. We performed magnetic-capture polymerase chain reaction (MC-PCR) to detect T. gondii DNA in 231 horse meat samples purchased in supermarkets in France and evaluated the performance and level of agreement of the modified agglutination test (MAT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in the meat juices. The serological tests lacked sensitivity, specificity, and agreement between them, and there was no correlation with the presence of T. gondii DNA in horse meat, raising concerns about the reliability of T. gondii seroprevalence data in horses from the literature. T. gondii DNA was detected in 43% of horse meat samples but the absence of strain isolation in mice following inoculation of more than 100 horse meat samples suggests a low distribution of cysts in skeletal muscles and a low risk of T. gondii infection associated with horse meat consumption. However, to avoid any risk of toxoplasmosis, thorough cooking of horse meat is recommended.

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