Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows
AbstractIn pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe consequences for the animal’s health, performance, and welfare. This study assessed measures of blood celluar immunity with special emphasis on T cells in pregnant German Landrace sows either housed in individual crates or in a social group. Blood samples were taken at four samplings pre partum to evaluate numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine-producing T cells. Plasma cortisol concentrations were evaluated as an indicator of stress. We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8+ gd-T cells. Individually housed sows showed higher cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01), whereas lymphocyte functionality did not differ between sows of both housing systems. Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed. We favor the hypothesis that differences in the stressfulness of the environment contributed to the effects, with crate-housing being a more stressful environment—at least under conditions of this study.
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Grün, V.; Schmucker, S.; Schalk, C.; Flauger, B.; Weiler, U.; Stefanski, V. Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows. Animals 2013, 3, 1123-1141.
Grün V, Schmucker S, Schalk C, Flauger B, Weiler U, Stefanski V. Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows. Animals. 2013; 3(4):1123-1141.Chicago/Turabian Style
Grün, Verena; Schmucker, Sonja; Schalk, Christiane; Flauger, Birgit; Weiler, Ulrike; Stefanski, Volker. 2013. "Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows." Animals 3, no. 4: 1123-1141.