Livestock Behavior Research Unit

West Lafayette, Australia

Livestock Behavior Research Unit

West Lafayette, Australia
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Vieira D.L.T.G.,Purdue University | Lossie A.C.,Purdue University | Lay D.C.,Purdue University | Lay D.C.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

Barbering, where a "barber" mouse plucks hair from its cagemates or itself, is both a spontaneously occurring abnormal behavior in mice and a well validated model of Trichotillomania (TTM). N-Acetylcysteine, (NAC) a cysteine derived food additive, is remarkably effective in treating TTM patients, but its mechanism of action is unknown. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), also known as free radicals, form as a natural byproduct of the normal metabolism of oxygen. Under normal circumstances, cells are able to defend themselves against ROS damage with antioxidant pathways. NAC is the precursor to the main antioxidant produced to defend the brain. Therefore, we hypothesized that barbering is a disease of oxidative stress, whereby ROS and/or a failure of antioxidant defenses leads to neuronal damage that induces barbering in susceptible animals. We tested this hypothesis in 32 female C57BL/6J mice by treating half with 1g/kg BW/day of NAC in their diet, and testing for protection against developing barbering behavior and curing of barbering behavior, and simultaneously testing for a panel of biomarkers of oxidative stress. NAC reduced the chance that mice would be barbers, and this effect did not differ between healthy (i.e. prevention) and affected animals (i.e. cure). Barbering animals had elevated urinary antioxidant capacity, indicative of oxidative stress, at all timepoints. Additionally, after treatment the risk of barbering increased with decreasing hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) levels, and with increasing glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) levels, further indicating that barbering mice were under oxidative stress regardless of treatment with NAC. We did not find compelling evidence that urinary total antioxidant capacity, or urinary 8-OHdG, could predict response to NAC treatment. We conclude that NAC is effective in preventing and/or curing barbering at least in part by promoting GSH synthesis, thereby preventing oxidative damage. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


PubMed | Livestock Behavior Research Unit, Purdue University and China Agricultural University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The British journal of nutrition | Year: 2014

The present study investigated the effects of dietary arginine (Arg) supplementation on intestinal structure and functionality in broiler chickens subjected to coccidial challenge. The present study was a randomised complete block design employing a 32 factorial arrangement (n 8) with three dietary concentrations of Arg (111, 133 and 202g/kg) with or without coccidial vaccine challenge (unchallenged and coccidial challenge). On day 14, birds were orally administered with coccidial vaccine or saline. On day 21, birds were killed to obtain jejunal tissue and mucosal samples for histological, gene expression and mucosal immunity measurements. Within 7d of the challenge, there was a decrease in body-weight gain and feed intake, and an increase in the feed:gain ratio (P<005). Jejunal inflammation was evidenced by villus damage, crypt dilation and goblet cell depletion. Coccidial challenge increased mucosal secretory IgA concentration and inflammatory gene (iNOS, IL-1, IL-8 and MyD88) mRNA expression levels (P<005), as well as reduced jejunal Mucin-2, IgA and IL-1RI mRNA expression levels (P<005). Increasing Arg concentration (1) increased jejunal villus height (P<005) and linearly increased jejunal crypt depth (P<005); (2) quadratically increased mucosal maltase activity (P<005) and linearly decreased mucosal secretory IgG concentration (P<005) within the coccidiosis-challenged groups; and (3) linearly decreased jejunal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mRNA expression level (P<005) within the coccidiosis-challenged groups. The mRNA expression of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 pathway genes (mTOR and RPS6KB1) and the anti-apoptosis gene Bcl-2 quadratically responded to increasing dietary Arg supplementation (P<005). These results indicate that dietary Arg supplementation attenuates intestinal mucosal disruption in coccidiosis-challenged chickens probably through suppressing TLR4 and activating mTOR complex 1 pathways.


Troche C.,Purdue University | Troche C.,University of Florida | Eicher S.D.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Applegate T.J.,Purdue University
British Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2015

Coccidia are protozoal parasites which compromise mucosal integrity of the intestine, potentiating poultry morbidity. The host's Zn status influences the course of infection. Therefore, two experiments were designed to determine how supplemental Zn regimens impacted jejunal and caecal immune status and Zn transporter expression. Coccivac®-B was administered weekly at ten times the recommended dose as a mild coccidial challenge (10CV). Zn was provided through a basal diet, supplemental zinc sulfate (ZnSO4), or a supplemental 1:1 blend of ZnSO4 and Availa®-Zn (Blend). Mucosal jejunum (Expt 1) and caecal tonsils (Expt 2) were evaluated for intracellular Zn concentrations and phagocytic capacity. Messenger expression of Zn transporters ZnT5, ZnT7, Zip9 and Zip13 were investigated to determine Zn trafficking. With 10CV, phagocytic capacity was decreased in jejunal cells by 2 %. In the caecal tonsils, however, phagocytic capacity increased with challenge, with the magnitude of increase being more pronounced with higher dietary Zn (10CV × Zn interaction; P= 0·04). Intracellular Zn within caecal tonsils was found significantly reduced with 10CV (27 %, P= 0·0001). 10CV also resulted in an overall increase in the ratio of Zip:ZnT transporters. With the exception of Zip13 transporter expression, dietary Zn source had little impact on any of the measured cellular parameters. Thus, intestinal mucosal tissues had reductions in intracellular free Zn during coccidial challenge, which was coupled with an upregulation of measured Zip transporters. This suggests that under coccidial challenge, intestinal cells attempt to compensate for the drop in intracellular Zn. © The Authors 2015.


Dennis R.L.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Cheng H.W.,Purdue University
Poultry Science | Year: 2012

Infrared beak trimming provides an alternative to conventional trimming, purporting to provide a welfare-friendly means of trimming. The infrared system can be adjusted to use multiple plate and power settings. In the present study, we used 2 different plate sizes (27/23C, less severe; 25/23C, more severe) with each of 3 power settings: high (52), moderate (48), and low (44). These birds, along with conventionally (hot blade; HB) trimmed birds were maintained in an industry egg-laying facility. Physiological and behavioral measures were taken at 5, 10, 20, and 30 wk. All birds followed a similar growth curve; birds from the 27/23C (48) protocol were the heaviest across all ages and 25/23C (44) birds were the lightest. Upper and lower beak growth curves showed birds trimmed with 25/23C protocols had shorter upper and lower beaks compared with 27/23C protocols or HB. Birds trimmed using 27/23 (44) and (48) had consistently longer upper and lower mandibles. Amount of feed wasted was greatest in HB and 27/23C birds and tended to be reduced in 27/23 (48) and 25/23 (48) and (52) birds (P < 0.10). Beak-related behaviors (eating, drinking, and pecking) were measured to observe the effects of trimming protocol on beak usage, which could indicate beak pain or morphological changes that inhibit normal behaviors. Walking behavior was also measured to assess overall activity. Behavior analysis revealed that compared with HB-trimmed birds, those of 27/23C protocols walked and drank more at a young age. At 5 and 10 wk of age, a test feather was attached to the cage and pecking at as well as the damage score of the feather were determined. Birds from 27/23C (44) and (48) protocols pecked significantly more at the feather than HB, whereas HB and 25/23C (52) birds had the highest damage score. The results from the study suggest that infrared protocols can be optimized for superior productivity as well as animal well-being. © 2012 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Strong R.A.,Purdue University | Hester P.Y.,Purdue University | Eicher S.D.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Hu J.,Purdue University | Cheng H.-W.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The objective of this study was to determine if thermally cooled perches improve hen immunity during hot summer. White Leghorn pullets at 16 week of age were randomly assigned to 18 cages of 3 banks at 9 hens per cage. Each bank was assigned to 1 of the 3 treatments up to 32 week of age: 1) thermally cooled perches, 2) perches with ambient air, and 3) cages without perches. Hens were exposed to natural ambient temperatures from June through September 2013 in Indiana with a 4 h acute heat episode at 27.6 week of age. The packed cell volume, heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, plasma concentrations of total IgG, and cytokines of interleukin-1β and interleukin-6, plus lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-α factor were measured at both 27.6 and 32 week of age. The mRNA expressions of these cytokines, toll-like receptor-4, and inducible nitric oxide synthase were also examined in the spleen of 32 week-old hens. Except for H/L ratio, thermally cooled perches did not significantly improve currently measured immunological indicators. These results indicated that the ambient temperature of 2013 summer in Indiana (24° C, 17.1 to 33.1° C) was not high enough and the 4 h heat episode at 33.3° C (32 to 34.6° C) was insufficient in length to evoke severe heat stress in hens. However, cooled perch hens had a lower H/L ratio than both air perch hens and control hens at 27.6 week of age and it was still lower compared to control hens (P < 0.05, respectively) at 32 week of age. The lowered H/L ratio of cooled perch hens may suggest that they were able to cope with acute heat stress more effectively than control hens. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of thermally cooled perches on hen health under higher ambient temperatures. © This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.


Muir W.M.,Purdue University | Cheng H.-W.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Croney C.,Purdue University
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2014

As consumers and society in general become more aware of ethical and moral dilemmas associated with intensive rearing systems, pressure is put on the animal and poultry industries to adopt alternative forms of housing. This presents challenges especially regarding managing competitive social interactions between animals. However, selective breeding programs are rapidly advancing, enhanced by both genomics and new quantitative genetic theory that offer potential solutions by improving adaptation of the bird to existing and proposed production environments. The outcomes of adaptation could lead to improvement of animal welfare by increasing fitness of the animal for the given environments, which might lead to increased contentment and decreased distress of birds in those systems. Genomic selection, based on dense genetic markers, will allow for more rapid improvement of traits that are expensive or difficult to measure, or have a low heritability, such as pecking, cannibalism, robustness, mortality, leg score, bone strength, disease resistance, and thus has the potential to address many poultry welfare concerns. Recently selection programs to include social effects, known as associative or indirect genetic effects (IGEs), have received much attention. Group, kin, multi-level, and multi-trait selection including IGEs have all been shown to be highly effective in reducing mortality while increasing productivity of poultry layers and reduce or eliminate the need for beak trimming. Multi-level selection was shown to increases robustness as indicated by the greater ability of birds to cope with stressors. Kin selection has been shown to be easy to implement and improve both productivity and animal well-being. Management practices and rearing conditions employed for domestic animal production will continue to change based on ethical and scientific results. However, the animal breeding tools necessary to provide an animal that is best adapted to these changing conditions are readily available and should be used, which will ultimately lead to the best possible outcomes for all impacted. © 2014 Muir, Cheng and Croney.


Felver-Gant J.N.,Purdue University | Mack L.A.,Purdue University | Dennis R.L.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Eicher S.D.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit | Cheng H.W.,Livestock Behavior Research Unit
Poultry Science | Year: 2012

Heat stress (HS) is a major problem experienced by the poultry industry during high-temperature conditions. The ability to manage the detrimental effects of HS can be attributed to multiple factors, including genetic background of flocks. The objective of the present study was to determine the genetic variation in HS effects on laying hens' physiological homeostasis. Ninety 28-wk-old White Leghorn hens of 2 strains were used: a commercial line of individually selected hens for high egg production, DeKalb XL (DXL), and a line of group-selected hens for high productivity and survivability, named kind gentle bird (KGB). Hens were randomly paired by strain and assigned to hot or control treatment for 14 d. Physical and physiological parameters were analyzed at d 8 and 14 posttreatment. Compared with controls, HS increased hen's core body temperature (P < 0.05) and decreased BW (P < 0.05) at d 8 and 14. Heat shock protein 70 concentrations in the liver were greater in hens exposed to HS (P < 0.05). Compared with DXL hens, KGB hens had higher heat shock protein 70 concentrations (P < 0.05). The hens' liver weight decreased following HS, with less of a response in the KGB line (P < 0.05). The data indicate HS has detrimental effects on the physiology of laying hens due to genetic variations. These data provide evidence that is valuable for determining genetic interventions for laying hens under HS. © 2012 Poultry Science Association Inc.


PubMed | Livestock Behavior Research Unit and Purdue University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

The objective of this study was to determine if thermally cooled perches improve hen immunity during hot summer. White Leghorn pullets at 16 week of age were randomly assigned to 18 cages of 3 banks at 9 hens per cage. Each bank was assigned to 1 of the 3 treatments up to 32 week of age: 1) thermally cooled perches, 2) perches with ambient air, and 3) cages without perches. Hens were exposed to natural ambient temperatures from June through September 2013 in Indiana with a 4 h acute heat episode at 27.6 week of age. The packed cell volume, heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, plasma concentrations of total IgG, and cytokines of interleukin-1 and interleukin-6, plus lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor- factor were measured at both 27.6 and 32 week of age. The mRNA expressions of these cytokines, toll-like receptor-4, and inducible nitric oxide synthase were also examined in the spleen of 32 week-old hens. Except for H/L ratio, thermally cooled perches did not significantly improve currently measured immunological indicators. These results indicated that the ambient temperature of 2013 summer in Indiana (24C, 17.1 to 33.1C) was not high enough and the 4 h heat episode at 33.3C (32 to 34.6C) was insufficient in length to evoke severe heat stress in hens. However, cooled perch hens had a lower H/L ratio than both air perch hens and control hens at 27.6 week of age and it was still lower compared to control hens (P < 0.05, respectively) at 32 week of age. The lowered H/L ratio of cooled perch hens may suggest that they were able to cope with acute heat stress more effectively than control hens. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of thermally cooled perches on hen health under higher ambient temperatures.


PubMed | Livestock Behavior Research Unit and Purdue University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The British journal of nutrition | Year: 2015

Coccidia are protozoal parasites which compromise mucosal integrity of the intestine, potentiating poultry morbidity. The hosts Zn status influences the course of infection. Therefore, two experiments were designed to determine how supplemental Zn regimens impacted jejunal and caecal immune status and Zn transporter expression. Coccivac-B was administered weekly at ten times the recommended dose as a mild coccidial challenge (10 CV). Zn was provided through a basal diet, supplemental zinc sulfate (ZnSO4), or a supplemental 1:1 blend of ZnSO4 and Availa-Zn (Blend). Mucosal jejunum (Expt 1) and caecal tonsils (Expt 2) were evaluated for intracellular Zn concentrations and phagocytic capacity. Messenger expression of Zn transporters ZnT5, ZnT7, Zip9 and Zip13 were investigated to determine Zn trafficking. With 10 CV, phagocytic capacity was decreased in jejunal cells by 2%. In the caecal tonsils, however, phagocytic capacity increased with challenge, with the magnitude of increase being more pronounced with higher dietary Zn (10 CV Zn interaction; P = 0.04). Intracellular Zn within caecal tonsils was found significantly reduced with 10 CV (27%, P = 0.0001). 10 CV also resulted in an overall increase in the ratio of Zip:ZnT transporters. With the exception of Zip13 transporter expression, dietary Zn source had little impact on any of the measured cellular parameters. Thus, intestinal mucosal tissues had reductions in intracellular free Zn during coccidial challenge, which was coupled with an upregulation of measured Zip transporters. This suggests that under coccidial challenge, intestinal cells attempt to compensate for the drop in intracellular Zn.


PubMed | Livestock Behavior Research Unit and Purdue University
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in genetics | Year: 2014

As consumers and society in general become more aware of ethical and moral dilemmas associated with intensive rearing systems, pressure is put on the animal and poultry industries to adopt alternative forms of housing. This presents challenges especially regarding managing competitive social interactions between animals. However, selective breeding programs are rapidly advancing, enhanced by both genomics and new quantitative genetic theory that offer potential solutions by improving adaptation of the bird to existing and proposed production environments. The outcomes of adaptation could lead to improvement of animal welfare by increasing fitness of the animal for the given environments, which might lead to increased contentment and decreased distress of birds in those systems. Genomic selection, based on dense genetic markers, will allow for more rapid improvement of traits that are expensive or difficult to measure, or have a low heritability, such as pecking, cannibalism, robustness, mortality, leg score, bone strength, disease resistance, and thus has the potential to address many poultry welfare concerns. Recently selection programs to include social effects, known as associative or indirect genetic effects (IGEs), have received much attention. Group, kin, multi-level, and multi-trait selection including IGEs have all been shown to be highly effective in reducing mortality while increasing productivity of poultry layers and reduce or eliminate the need for beak trimming. Multi-level selection was shown to increases robustness as indicated by the greater ability of birds to cope with stressors. Kin selection has been shown to be easy to implement and improve both productivity and animal well-being. Management practices and rearing conditions employed for domestic animal production will continue to change based on ethical and scientific results. However, the animal breeding tools necessary to provide an animal that is best adapted to these changing conditions are readily available and should be used, which will ultimately lead to the best possible outcomes for all impacted.

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