Schleswig, Germany
Schleswig, Germany

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Death R.B.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | Turner S.P.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | Kurt E.,Optimeater Consulting | Evans G.,PIC UK | And 10 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2010

Pre-slaughter stress has a negative impact on animal welfare and on meat quality. Aggressive behaviour when pigs are mixed together for transportation to, or on arrival at, the abattoir is an important factor in pre-slaughter stress. Aggressiveness of pigs varies between individuals in the population, and this study investigated its effects on stress and meat quality at slaughter. We mixed pigs at a young age to identify individuals of high (H) or low (L) aggressive temperament using the previously validated approach of lesion scoring. To contrast extremes of social stress single-sex groups of eight pigs were mixed according to their aggressiveness in HH, HL or LL combinations or left unmixed (U) prior to transport and slaughter (n = 271). Each treatment was replicated in at least two groups in each of four slaughter batches. Mixing per se had little effect, but mixed groups composed of aggressive pigs (HH) had more carcass skin lesions and higher levels of plasma cortisol at slaughter and had loin muscle samples with higher pH at 24 h, and lower redness (a*) and yellowness (b*) compared to the other treatments. Females had higher levels of plasma cortisol at slaughter, a more rapid decline in pH post-slaughter and greater lean content of meat. Lactate and creatine kinase (CK) levels and meat pH were affected by the interaction of sex and treatment. Genetic factors, dam and sire line composition, and halothane locus (ryanodine receptor 1, RYR1) genotype, also affected a number of production and meat quality parameters as expected. Additionally, commercially normal levels of social stress were studied in four further slaughter batches with no manipulation of group composition (n = 313). In these pigs, the proportion of unfamiliar pigs and group size of lairage groups explained limited variation in lesion scores at slaughter, but earlier aggressiveness did not. High numbers of skin lesions on the carcass were associated with high levels of cortisol and lactate and low glucose at slaughter, but not with meat quality measures. When stress and meat quality measures were compared for all pigs, high lactate was associated with low early pH and high drip loss, while high cortisol and CK were associated with high pH at 24 h and changes in meat colour. In conclusion, mixing pigs of above average aggressiveness resulted in greater aggression and stress, and changes in meat quality parameters, consistent with the effects of pre-slaughter stress on muscle chemistry. © 2009 The Animal Consortium.


Murani E.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Ponsuksili S.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | D'Eath R.B.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | Turner S.P.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | And 7 more authors.
BMC Genetics | Year: 2010

Background: Stress, elicited for example by aggressive interactions, has negative effects on various biological functions including immune defence, reproduction, growth, and, in livestock, on product quality. Stress response and aggressiveness are mutually interrelated and show large interindividual variation, partly attributable to genetic factors. In the pig little is known about the molecular-genetic background of the variation in stress responsiveness and aggressiveness. To identify candidate genes we analyzed association of DNA markers in each of ten genes (CRH g.233C>T, CRHR1 c.*866_867insA, CRHBP c.51G>A, POMC c.293_298del, MC2R c.306T>G, NR3C1 c.*2122A>G, AVP c.207A>G, AVPR1B c.1084A>G, UCN g.1329T>C, CRHR2 c.*13T>C) related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, one of the main stress-response systems, with various stress- and aggression-related parameters at slaughter. These parameters were: physiological measures of the stress response (plasma concentrations of cortisol, creatine kinase, glucose, and lactate), adrenal weight (which is a parameter reflecting activity of the central branch of the HPA axis over time) and aggressive behaviour (measured by means of lesion scoring) in the context of psychosocial stress of mixing individuals with different aggressive temperament.Results: The SNP NR3C1 c.*2122A>G showed association with cortisol concentration (p = 0.024), adrenal weight (p = 0.003) and aggressive behaviour (front lesion score, p = 0.012; total lesion score p = 0.045). The SNP AVPR1B c.1084A>G showed a highly significant association with aggressive behaviour (middle lesion score, p = 0.007; total lesion score p = 0.003). The SNP UCN g.1329T>C showed association with adrenal weight (p = 0.019) and aggressive behaviour (front lesion score, p = 0.029). The SNP CRH g.233C>T showed a significant association with glucose concentration (p = 0.002), and the polymorphisms POMC c.293_298del and MC2R c.306T>G with adrenal weight (p = 0.027 and p < 0.0001 respectively).Conclusions: The multiple and consistent associations shown by SNP in NR3C1 and AVPR1B provide convincing evidence for genuine effects of their DNA sequence variation on stress responsiveness and aggressive behaviour. Identification of the causal functional molecular polymorphisms would not only provide markers useful for pig breeding but also insight into the molecular bases of the stress response and aggressive behaviour in general. © 2010 Muráni et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Oster M.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Murani E.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Ponsuksili S.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | D'Eath R.B.,SRUC Animal and Veterinary Science Research Group | And 8 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2014

Background: Brain and immune system are linked in a bi-directional manner. To date, it remained largely unknown why immune components become suppressed, enhanced, or remain unaffected in relation to psychosocial stress. Therefore, we mixed unfamiliar pigs with different levels of aggressiveness. We separated castrated male and female pigs into psychosocially high- and low- stressed animals by skin lesions, plasma cortisol level, and creatine kinase activity obtained from agonistic behaviour associated with regrouping. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were collected post-mortem and differential gene expression was assessed using the Affymetrix platform (n = 16). Results: Relevant stress-dependent alterations were found only between female samples, but not between castrated male samples. Molecular routes related to TREM 1 signalling, dendritic cell maturation, IL-6 signalling, Toll-like receptor signalling, and IL-8 signalling were increased in high stressed females compared to low stressed females. This indicates a launch of immune effector molecules as a direct response. According to the shifts of transcripts encoding cell surface receptors (e.g. CD14, TLR2, TLR4, TREM1) the study highlights processes acting on pattern recognition, inflammation, and cell-cell communication. Conclusions: The transcriptional response partly affected the degree of 'stress responsiveness', indicating that the high stressed females altered their signal transduction due to potential infections and injuries while fighting. © 2014 Oster et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Murani E.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Ponsuksili S.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | D'Eath R.B.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | Turner S.P.,Sustainable Livestock Systems | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Molecular Endocrinology | Year: 2011

To gain insight into the adrenal stress response, we analysed differential mRNA expression of genes associated with psychosocial stress in the pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Various levels of psychosocial stress were induced by mixing groups of unfamiliar pigs with different aggressiveness. We selected two experimental groups for comparison, each comprising eight animals, which differed significantly in aggressive behaviour and plasma cortisol levels. To identify differentially expressed genes, we compared the adrenal transcriptome of these two groups of pigs, using the Affymetrix GeneChip porcine Genome Array. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that psychosocial stress induced upregulation of transcripts enriched for functions associated with cholesterol accumulation and downregulation of transcripts enriched for functions associated with cell growth and death. These responses are similar to those induced by ACTH stimulation. Nevertheless, the majority of the differentially expressed genes were so far not described as ACTH responsive. Some, such as GAL and GALP, may have responded to sympathoadrenal stimulation. Several of the differentially expressed transcripts, such as AGT, are associated with processes modulating steroidogenic response of adrenocortical cells to ACTH. One of the most significant findings was upregulation of LOC100039095, comprising a precursor of the microRNA miR-202, pointing to a previously unrecognised layer of regulation of adrenal steroidogenesis by microRNA. Our study, performed under entirely physiological conditions, complements previous studies focusing either on a single adrenal tissue and/or on a single stimulus, and contributes to understanding of the fine-tuning of adrenal stress response. © 2011 Society for Endocrinology.


Oster M.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Murani E.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Ponsuksili S.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | D'Eath R.B.,Animal and Veterinary Science Research Group | And 8 more authors.
Physiology and Behavior | Year: 2014

Psychosocial challenges are known to introduce cellular and humoral adaptations in various tissues and organs, including parts of the sympatho-adrenal-medullary system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as well as other peripheral tissue being responsive to cortisol and catecholamines. The liver is of particular interest given its vital roles in maintaining homeostasis and health as well as regulating nutrient utilization and overall metabolism. We aimed to evaluate whether and how response to psychosocial stress is reflected by physiological molecular pathways in liver tissue. A pig mixing experiment was conducted to induce psychosocial stress culminating in skin lesions which reflect the involvement in aggressive behavior and fighting. At 27. weeks of age, animals prone to psychosocially low- and high-stress were assigned to mixing groups. Skin lesions were counted before mixing and after slaughter on the carcass. Individual liver samples (n = 12) were taken. The isolated RNA was hybridized on Affymetrix GeneChip porcine Genome Arrays. Relative changes of mRNA abundances were estimated via variance analyses. Molecular routes related to tRNA charging, urea cycle, acute phase response, galactose utilization, and steroid receptor signaling were found to be increased in psychosocially high-stressed animals, whereas catecholamine degradation and cholesterol biosynthesis were found to be decreased. In particular, psychosocially high-stressed animals show decreased expression of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) which has been linked to molecular mechanisms regulating aggressiveness and stress response. The expression patterns of high-stressed animals revealed metabolic alterations of key genes related to energy-mobilizing processes at the expense of energy consuming processes. Thus, the coping following psychosocial challenges involves transcriptional alterations in liver tissue which may be summarized with reference to the concept of allostasis, a strategy which is critical for survival. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


PubMed | Optimeter, PIC Deutschland GmbH, Vion Food Group, Animal & Veterinary Science Research Group and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: Physiology & behavior | Year: 2014

Psychosocial challenges are known to introduce cellular and humoral adaptations in various tissues and organs, including parts of the sympatho-adrenal-medullary system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as well as other peripheral tissue being responsive to cortisol and catecholamines. The liver is of particular interest given its vital roles in maintaining homeostasis and health as well as regulating nutrient utilization and overall metabolism. We aimed to evaluate whether and how response to psychosocial stress is reflected by physiological molecular pathways in liver tissue. A pig mixing experiment was conducted to induce psychosocial stress culminating in skin lesions which reflect the involvement in aggressive behavior and fighting. At 27 weeks of age, animals prone to psychosocially low- and high-stress were assigned to mixing groups. Skin lesions were counted before mixing and after slaughter on the carcass. Individual liver samples (n=12) were taken. The isolated RNA was hybridized on Affymetrix GeneChip porcine Genome Arrays. Relative changes of mRNA abundances were estimated via variance analyses. Molecular routes related to tRNA charging, urea cycle, acute phase response, galactose utilization, and steroid receptor signaling were found to be increased in psychosocially high-stressed animals, whereas catecholamine degradation and cholesterol biosynthesis were found to be decreased. In particular, psychosocially high-stressed animals show decreased expression of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) which has been linked to molecular mechanisms regulating aggressiveness and stress response. The expression patterns of high-stressed animals revealed metabolic alterations of key genes related to energy-mobilizing processes at the expense of energy consuming processes. Thus, the coping following psychosocial challenges involves transcriptional alterations in liver tissue which may be summarized with reference to the concept of allostasis, a strategy which is critical for survival.


Bardehle D.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Preissler R.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Lehmann J.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Looft H.,Pic Deutschland GmbH | Kemper N.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg
Zuchtungskunde | Year: 2012

The aim of our study was to analyze the relations between the clinical appearance of MMA (Mastitis, Metritis, Agalactia) and fertility and performance parameters in a piglet production. Special emphasis was laid on the association between performance parameters and MMA on the one hand and on the influence of parturition management on the other hand. The farrowing interval (ZWZ) was increased by MMA in tendency (MMA+: ZWZ = 147 d vs. MMA-: ZWZ = 145 d) and showed the impact of this disease beyond the current lactation. No significant association between MMA and the foUovnng incidence of sows returning to heat was shown. Litters of MMA-positive sows were characterized by significantly more stillborn piglets in comparison to MMA-negative sows (1.3, and 1.1 still bom piglets, respectively). In addition, less weaned piglets per sow and parturition (10.4 instead of 10.6 weaned piglets) were found to be associated with MMA, going along with economic losses. Associations between the ciirrent litter size (piglets bom alive and piglets bom dead) and partus induction and birth assistance were significant. Piglet numbers of the follovnng litter were not significantly influenced by the previous occurrence of MMA. After obstetrics, in the following litter decreased numbers of piglets bom alive and weaned piglets, and an increase in piglets bom dead were assessed. In general, it was shown that even in modem piglet production, MMA can be followed by severely decreased performance. Prevention, especially the documentation of 'animals at risk', is of major importance. Besides the occurrence of MMA, traits such as partus induction and birth intervention should be routinely reported on larger farms. © Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.

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