Next Issue
Volume 10, December
Previous Issue
Volume 10, October

Table of Contents

Animals, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2020) – 256 articles

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) The importance of many dietary minerals has been established in many species. This is not the case [...] Read more.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Phlorotannins from Brown Seaweeds on the In Vitro Digestibility of Pig Feed
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112193 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Phlorotannins have been reported to have positive effects on pig health, including improved gut health and digestibility. In this study, we investigate the effect of phenolics found in two brown seaweeds, Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus serratus, on in vitro dry matter digestibility [...] Read more.
Phlorotannins have been reported to have positive effects on pig health, including improved gut health and digestibility. In this study, we investigate the effect of phenolics found in two brown seaweeds, Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus serratus, on in vitro dry matter digestibility of seaweeds and commercial pig feed. Phlorotannin extracts and whole seaweeds were supplemented into pig feed to test their effect on digestibility. Solid-phase extraction was used to purify the phenolics to phlorotannins. The results showed a slight decrease in the digestibility of pig feed that was found to be significant when phlorotannin extracts were added from either seaweed. However, when whole A. nodosum was added to the pig feed, the effect on digestibility was less pronounced. Specifically, no significant difference in digestibility was observed at inclusion rates up to 5%, and thereafter results varied. A difference in digestibility was also observed in the same species at the same inclusion rate, collected from different seasons. This suggests that other compounds, e.g., polysaccharides, are having an effect on digestibility when whole seaweeds are supplemented to animal feed. This research has also highlighted the need to base supplementation on phenolic concentration as opposed to a standardised percentage inclusion of seaweeds to ensure that digestibility is not adversely affected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Nutrition and Feeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Descriptive Study of Keel Bone Fractures in Hens and Roosters from Four Non-Commercial Laying Breeds Housed in Furnished Cages
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112192 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 182
Abstract
The presence of keel bone fractures (KBF) in laying hens has been documented and discussed by several authors, nevertheless the causative factors behind KBF remain uncertain. High prevalence of KBF have been reported in all commercial egg production systems, in different genetic lines [...] Read more.
The presence of keel bone fractures (KBF) in laying hens has been documented and discussed by several authors, nevertheless the causative factors behind KBF remain uncertain. High prevalence of KBF have been reported in all commercial egg production systems, in different genetic lines and at different ages. Several of the proposed causal mechanisms behind KBF are linked to selection for efficient production. It is, therefore, of interest to explore whether less selected breeds have a lower occurrence of keel bone fractures compared to reports from highly selected, modern laying hen breeds. Thus, the aim of the current study was to investigate keel bones of hens from four non-commercial layer breeds. Birds were housed in furnished cages and keel bones examined at 30 and 63 weeks of age, using a portable X-ray equipment. The results from this descriptive study indicate a low prevalence of KBF at both ages in all four breeds, with only five KBF detected in 213 X-ray pictures taken from 126 birds. Of these, four of the KBF were observed in the most genetically selected breed, with an early onset of lay. None of the roosters examined exhibited KBF. The overall low numbers of KBF found indicate that genetic factors may be involved in KBF and, thus that selective breeding may help to reduce the susceptibility to KBF. Finally, this study highlights the importance of poultry conservation to secure genetic diversity, which may be an important resource in future selection schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Poultry Welfare)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Influence of Parental Fatty Acid Desaturase 2 (fads2) Expression and Diet on Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata) Offspring fads2 Expression during Ontogenesis
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112191 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that it is possible to increase the ability of marine fish to produce long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid from their 18C precursors by nutritional programming or using broodstock with a higher fatty acyl desaturase 2 (fads2) expression. However, [...] Read more.
Previous studies have shown that it is possible to increase the ability of marine fish to produce long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid from their 18C precursors by nutritional programming or using broodstock with a higher fatty acyl desaturase 2 (fads2) expression. However, those studies failed to show the effect of these interventions on the expression of the fads2 gene in the developing egg. Moreover, there were no studies on the temporal expression of the fads2 during ontogeny in the gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata). In order to determine the changes in expression of fads2 during ontogeny, gilthead sea bream broodstock with a high (HRO) or low (LRO) fads2 expression fed a diet previously used for nutritional programming, or a fish oil-based diet (LFO) were allowed to spawn. The samples were taken at the stages of spawning, morula, high blastula, gastrula, neurula, heart beating, hatch and 3 day-old first exogenous feeding larvae to determine fads2 expression throughout embryonic development. The results showed the presence of fads2 mRNA in the just spawned egg, denoting the maternal mRNA transfer to the developing oocyte. Later, fads2 expression increased after the neurula, from heart beating until 3-day-old larvae, denoting the transition from maternal to embryonic gene expression. In addition, the eggs obtained from broodstock with high fads2 expression showed a high docosahexaenoic acid content, which correlated with the downregulation of the fads2 expression found in the developing embryo and larvae. Finally, feeding with the nutritional programming diet with the partial replacement of fish oil by rapeseed oil did not affect the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) contents nor fads2 expression in the gilthead sea bream developing eggs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Nutrigenomics and Epigenetics in Fish)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Alleviation of the Adverse Effect of Dietary Carbohydrate by Supplementation of Myo-Inositol to the Diet of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112190 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 200
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of dietary myo-inositol (MI) on alleviating the adverse effect of the high carbohydrate diet in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Six diets contained either low carbohydrate (LC 30%) or high carbohydrate (HC 45%) with three levels [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of dietary myo-inositol (MI) on alleviating the adverse effect of the high carbohydrate diet in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Six diets contained either low carbohydrate (LC 30%) or high carbohydrate (HC 45%) with three levels of MI supplementation (0, 400 and 1200 mg/kg diet) to each level of the carbohydrate diet. After an 8-week trial, the fish fed 400 mg/kg MI under HC levels had the highest weight gain and fatness, but the fish fed 1200 mg/kg MI had the lowest hepatosomatic index, visceral index and crude lipid in the HC group. The diet of 1200 mg/kg MI significantly decreased triglyceride content in the serum and liver compared with those fed the MI supplemented diets regardless of carbohydrate levels. Dietary MI decreased triglyceride accumulation in the liver irrespective of carbohydrate levels. The content of malondialdehyde decreased with increasing dietary MI at both carbohydrate levels. Fish fed 1200 mg/kg MI had the highest glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, aspartate aminotransferase and glutamic-pyruvic transaminase activities. The HC diet increased the mRNA expression of key genes involved in lipid synthesis (DGAT, SREBP, FAS) in the fish fed the diet without MI supplementation. Dietary MI significantly under expressed fatty acid synthetase in fish fed the HC diets. Moreover, the mRNA expression of genes related to lipid catabolism (CPT, ATGL, PPAR-α) was significantly up-regulated with the increase of dietary MI levels despite dietary carbohydrate levels. The gene expressions of gluconeogenesis, glycolysis and MI biosynthesis were significantly down-regulated, while the expression of the pentose phosphate pathway was up-regulated with the increase of MI levels. This study indicates that HC diets can interrupt normal lipid metabolism and tend to form a fatty liver in fish. Dietary MI supplement can alleviate lipid accumulation in the liver by diverging some glucose metabolism into the pentose phosphate pathway and enhance the antioxidant capacity in O. niloticus. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Serum Anti-Mullerian Hormone and Estradiol Concentrations in Gilts and Their Age at Puberty
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112189 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 162
Abstract
For experiment one, blood samples were obtained from 200 gilts at 90, 120, 150, 180, and 200 days of age. Serum samples from the 30 youngest (166.1 ± 0.7 days) and 30 oldest (198.8 ± 0.6 days) gilts exhibiting estrus by 200 days, [...] Read more.
For experiment one, blood samples were obtained from 200 gilts at 90, 120, 150, 180, and 200 days of age. Serum samples from the 30 youngest (166.1 ± 0.7 days) and 30 oldest (198.8 ± 0.6 days) gilts exhibiting estrus by 200 days, and a further 18 gilts that remained anestrus at 200 days, were assayed for serum concentrations of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and estradiol (E2). Gilts younger at puberty had higher (p < 0.05) AMH levels than those older at puberty, and both groups had higher AMH levels than anestrus gilts (p < 0.05). Regardless of age, serum E2 was higher (p < 0.05) in gilts that achieved puberty than in gilts remaining anestrus. At spontaneous pubertal estrus detection, there was no effect of pubertal age on the number of preovulatory ovarian follicles. For experiment two, 152 prepubertal gilts received an intramuscular (IM) injection of 400 IU eCG plus 200 IU hCG and then received fence-line boar contact to detect estrus onset. Serum AMH concentrations were higher (p < 0.05) in the first 25 gilts to exhibit puberty than the last 28 gilts, with the first gilts also having more preovulatory follicles (p < 0.0001). Taken together, these data support an association between serum AMH concentrations and degree of physiological maturity and ovarian follicular development in gilts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Pig Reproduction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommentary
Dog Welfare, Well-Being and Behavior: Considerations for Selection, Evaluation and Suitability for Animal-Assisted Therapy
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112188 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1231
Abstract
Health care and human service providers may include dogs in formal intervention settings to positively impact human physical, cognitive and psychosocial domains. Dogs working within this context are asked to cope with a multitude of variables including settings, populations, activities, and schedules. In [...] Read more.
Health care and human service providers may include dogs in formal intervention settings to positively impact human physical, cognitive and psychosocial domains. Dogs working within this context are asked to cope with a multitude of variables including settings, populations, activities, and schedules. In this article, the authors highlight how both the preparation and operation of dogs within animal-assisted therapy (AAT) differs from less structured animal-assisted activities (AAA) and more exclusive assistance animal work; the authors highlight the gaps in our knowledge in this regard, and propose an ethically sound framework for pragmatic solutions. This framework also emphasizes the need for good dog welfare to safeguard all participants. If dogs are not properly matched to a job or handler, they may be subjected to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and miscommunication that can lead to disinterest in the work, overt problematic behavioral or health outcomes, or general unsuitability. Such issues can have catastrophic outcomes for the AAT. The authors propose standards for best practices for selection, humane-based preparation and training, and ongoing evaluation to ensure the health, welfare and well-being of dogs working in AAT, which will have concomitant benefits for clients and the professionalism of the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Companion animals welfare and behaviour)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
What Factors Predispose Households in Trans-Himalaya (Central Nepal) to Livestock Predation by Snow Leopards?
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112187 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Livestock depredation across the trans-Himalaya causes significant economic losses to pastoralist communities. Quantification of livestock predation and the assessment of variables associated with depredation are crucial for designing effective long-term mitigation measures. We investigated the patterns and factors of livestock depredation by snow [...] Read more.
Livestock depredation across the trans-Himalaya causes significant economic losses to pastoralist communities. Quantification of livestock predation and the assessment of variables associated with depredation are crucial for designing effective long-term mitigation measures. We investigated the patterns and factors of livestock depredation by snow leopards (Panthera uncia) using semi-structured questionnaires targeting herders in the Narphu valley of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. During the two years (2017/18 and 2018/19), 73.9% of the households interviewed (n = 65) lost livestock to snow leopards, with an annual average loss of two livestock per household. Of the total depredation attributed to snow leopards, 55.4% were yak (mainly female: 79%), 31.7% goat, 6.8% sheep, 3.2% horse and 2.8% cattle. Results from applying Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) revealed the total number of livestock owned and the number of larger bodied livestock species as the main explanatory covariates explaining livestock depredation. Forty-one (41%) of all herders considered snow leopard’s preference for domestic livestock as the main factor in livestock predation, whereas only 5% perceived poor herding practice as the main reason for the loss. Our study found poor and changing herding practices in the valley, whereby 71% herders reported careful herding as a solution to snow leopard depredation, and 15% of herders considered the complete extermination of snow leopards as the best solution to the problem. Tolerance levels and awareness among herders towards snow leopard conservation is increasing, mainly due to the Buddhist religion and strict law enforcement within this protected area. We recommend the effective implementation of a community-based livestock insurance scheme to compensate the economic loss of herders due to predation and improved herding practices as the recommended mitigation measures for ensuring livestock security and snow leopards’ conservation in the valley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Association Analysis Identified BMPR1A as a Novel Candidate Gene Affecting the Number of Thoracic Vertebrae in a Large White × Minzhu Intercross Pig Population
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112186 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 247
Abstract
The number of vertebrae (NV), especially the number of thoracic vertebrae (NTV), varies among pig breeds. The NTV is controlled by vertebral segmentation and the number of somites during embryonic development. Although there is a high correlation between the NTV and NV, studies [...] Read more.
The number of vertebrae (NV), especially the number of thoracic vertebrae (NTV), varies among pig breeds. The NTV is controlled by vertebral segmentation and the number of somites during embryonic development. Although there is a high correlation between the NTV and NV, studies on a fixed NV have mainly considered the absolute numbers of thoracic vertebrae instead of vertebral segmentation. Therefore, this study aimed to discover variants associated with the NTV by considering the effect of the NV in pigs. The NTV and NV of 542 F2 individuals from a Large White × Minzhu pig crossbreed were recorded. All animals were genotyped for VRTN g.19034 A > C, LTBP2 c.4481A > C, and 37 missense or splice variants previously reported in a 951-kb interval on SSC7 and 147 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on SSC14. To identify NTV-associated SNPs, we firstly performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Q + K (population structure + kinship matrix) model in TASSEL. With the NV as a covariate, the obtained data were used to identify the SNPs with the most significant genome-wide association with the NTV by performing a GWAS on a PorcineSNP60K Genotyping BeadChip. Finally, a conditional GWAS was performed by fixing this SNP. The GWAS showed that 31 SNPs on SSC7 have significant genome-wide associations with the NTV. No missense or splice variants were found to be associated with the NTV significantly. A linkage disequilibrium analysis suggested the existence of quantitative trait loci (QTL) in a 479-Kb region on SSC7, which contained a critical candidate gene FOS for the NTV in pigs. Subsequently, a conditional GWAS was performed by fixing M1GA0010658, the most significant of these SNPs. Two SNPs in BMPR1A were found to have significant genome-wide associations and a significant dominant effect. The leading SNP, S14_87859370, accounted for 3.86% of the phenotypic variance. Our study uncovered that regulation variants in FOS on SSC7 and in BMPR1A on SSC14 might play important roles in controlling the NTV, and thus these genetic factors may be harnessed for increasing the NTV in pigs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
Streptococcus dysgalactiae—Contagious or Environmental?
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112185 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 232
Abstract
Streptococcus dysgalactiae is among the most important pathogens causing bovine mastitis. Unfortunately, there is presently a lack of clear knowledge about the mode of transmission—contagious or environmental—of this pathogen. To obtain more information on this, knowledge of the genetic diversity of the isolated [...] Read more.
Streptococcus dysgalactiae is among the most important pathogens causing bovine mastitis. Unfortunately, there is presently a lack of clear knowledge about the mode of transmission—contagious or environmental—of this pathogen. To obtain more information on this, knowledge of the genetic diversity of the isolated microorganisms at the farm level can be useful. To observe the strain variety in different herds of cattle, isolates of Strep. dysgalactiae were collected from clinical mastitis samples at different farms, and the strains were typed using the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) method. Overall, we performed strain typing on 93 isolates from 16 farms in Germany and used an index to describe the degree of contagiosity of Strep. dysgalactiae at each farm. This index (CI) represents the number of isolates divided by the number of strains found in mastitis milk of clinical cases within a period of 14 months. The results differed between the farms. In one farm, all six Strep. dysgalactiae cases that occurred during the study period were caused by a single strain (CI = 6), while in another farm the six cases that occurred were caused by five different strains (CI = 1.2). All other farms fell between these two extremes. This indicates that Strep. dysgalactiae infections can occur via several routes of transmission. At the farm level, strain comparisons are necessary to determine the routes of transmission. Two strains were able to survive on the farm for a minimum of 14 months. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Microorganism in Bovine Mastitis)
Open AccessArticle
Liver Expression of IGF2 and Related Proteins in ZBED6 Gene-Edited Pig by RNA-Seq
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112184 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 189
Abstract
Zinc finger BED-type containing 6 (ZBED6), a highly conservative transcription factor of placental mammals, has conservative interaction of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) based on the 16 bp binding sites of ZBED6 on the IGF2 sequence. IGF2 is related [...] Read more.
Zinc finger BED-type containing 6 (ZBED6), a highly conservative transcription factor of placental mammals, has conservative interaction of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) based on the 16 bp binding sites of ZBED6 on the IGF2 sequence. IGF2 is related to embryo growth and cell proliferation. At the same time, its functions in muscle and adipose in mammals have been widely mentioned in recent studies. To further investigate the mechanism of ZBED6 on IGF2, we detected the expression of IGF2 and related genes in ZBED6 single allele knockout (ZBED6-SKO) pig tissues and analyzed the transcriptome of ZBED6-SKO pig liver. Through RNA-seq, we captured nine up-regulated genes and eight down-regulated genes which related to lipid metabolism. The results showed that the mRNA of IGF2 had an upward trend after the partial knockout of ZBED6 in liver and had no significant difference in protein expression of IGF2. In summary, ZBED6-SKO could affect the secretion of IGF2 in pig liver and its own lipid metabolism. Our research has provided basic information for revealing the regulatory mechanism of the interaction between ZBED6 and IGF2 in mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Genetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Maternal Folic Acid Supplementation Differently Affects the Small Intestinal Phenotype and Gene Expression of Newborn Lambs from Differing Litter Sizes
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112183 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 190
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of maternal dietary folic acid (FA) supplementation during gestation on small intestinal development of newborn lambs of different litter sizes, focusing on the intestinal morphology and development-, apoptosis- and digestion-related genes expression. One [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of maternal dietary folic acid (FA) supplementation during gestation on small intestinal development of newborn lambs of different litter sizes, focusing on the intestinal morphology and development-, apoptosis- and digestion-related genes expression. One hundred and twenty Hu ewes (Ovis aries) were inseminated and randomly allotted to three groups. One group received a control diet [without FA supplementation, control (CON)] and the other two groups received control diets supplemented with different amount of FA [16 or 32 mg FA per kg dry matter (DM), i.e., F16 and F32] during pregnancy. After lambing, according to the dietary FA levels and litter size (twins, TW; triplets, TR), the neonatal lambs were divided into 6 (TW-CON, TW-F16, TW-F32, TR-CON, TR-F16, TR-F32) treatment groups. The results showed that the ratio of small intestinal weight to live body weight and the thickness of the intestinal muscle layer in the offspring was enhanced significantly with increasing maternal FA supplementation (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, the expression levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) and sodium/glucose co-transporter-1 (SGLT1) in the small intestines of the newborn lambs were increased, while the opposite was true for Bcl2-associated × (BAX) in response to FA supplementation (p < 0.05). Moreover, the small intestinal weights of twins were significantly higher than those of triplets (p < 0.01), and the expression levels of IGF-I (p < 0.05), sucrase-isomaltase (SI) (p < 0.05) and solute carrier family 2 member 5 (SLC2A5) (p < 0.01) were significantly lower than those in triplets. These findings suggest that maternal FA supplementation could improve the offspring’s small intestinal phenotype and the expression of development-, apoptosis- and digestion-related genes, so it could promote the small intestinal development of newborn lambs. Furthermore, the small intestine phenotypic development of twins was generally better than that of triplets, while the expression levels of the above genes of twins were lower than those of triplets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ruminant Nutrition and Lactation Physiology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Roughage Quality and Particle Size on Rumen Parameters and Fatty Acid Profiles of Longissimus Dorsi Fat of Lambs Fed Complete Feed
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112182 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 183
Abstract
The fatty acid composition for the longissimus dorsi (LD) fat of carcass sheep is a crucial factor impacting meat quality. We performed a 90-day feeding trial of 25 Naemi lambs to investigate the effects of roughage sources (alfalfa or wheat straw) of two [...] Read more.
The fatty acid composition for the longissimus dorsi (LD) fat of carcass sheep is a crucial factor impacting meat quality. We performed a 90-day feeding trial of 25 Naemi lambs to investigate the effects of roughage sources (alfalfa or wheat straw) of two sizes (regular and 1 cm chopped) when fed with pelleted total mixed ration (TMR) on the growth performance, fermentation patterns, and fatty acid (FA) composition of longissimus dorsi (LD) fat. Lambs were randomly assigned to individual pens with five treatment diets, as follows: C, control group with TMR; T1, TMR and regular alfalfa hay; T2, TMR and alfalfa hay chopped to 1 cm; T3, TMR and regular wheat straw; and T4, TMR and wheat straw chopped to 1 cm. Four lambs were randomly selected from each treatment (20 total) and sacrificed. LD fat of the carcass was extracted and analyzed for FA using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Significantly increased feed intake was found in T1 and T2. The FA composition of LD fat in T2 had higher unsaturated fatty acid (UFA), omega-6 (n6), and omega-3 (n3) FA content. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and α-linoleic acid were highest in lambs fed T1 and T2. Feeding different types of roughage, especially alfalfa hay, either regular or chopped, with total pelleted mixed ration is crucial to improving feed intake and body weight gain, as it positively enhances the rumen microbial fermentation process by controlling rumen pH. The FA profiles of meat from lambs fed TMR with regular or 1 cm particle size alfalfa hay (T1 and T2) are recommended for human consumption as a source of healthy FAs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Analysis of Nubian Ibex Reveals Candidate Positively Selected Genes That Contribute to Its Adaptation to the Desert Environment
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2181; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112181 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 215
Abstract
The domestic goat (Capra hircus) is an important livestock species with a geographic range spanning all continents, including arid and semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. The Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), a wild relative of the domestic goat inhabiting [...] Read more.
The domestic goat (Capra hircus) is an important livestock species with a geographic range spanning all continents, including arid and semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. The Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), a wild relative of the domestic goat inhabiting the hot deserts of Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is well-adapted to challenging environments in hot deserts characterized by intense solar radiation, thermal extremes, and scarce water resources. The economic importance of C. hircus breeds, as well as the current trends of global warming, highlights the need to understand the genetic basis of adaptation of C. nubiana to the desert environments. In this study, the genome of a C. nubiana individual was sequenced at an average of 37x coverage. Positively selected genes were identified by comparing protein-coding DNA sequences of C. nubiana and related species using dN/dS statistics. A total of twenty-two positively selected genes involved in diverse biological functions such as immune response, protein ubiquitination, olfactory transduction, and visual development were identified. In total, three of the twenty-two positively selected genes are involved in skin barrier development and function (ATP binding cassette subfamily A member 12, Achaete-scute family bHLH transcription factor 4, and UV stimulated scaffold protein A), suggesting that C. nubiana has evolved skin protection strategies against the damaging solar radiations that prevail in deserts. The positive selection signatures identified here provide new insights into the potential adaptive mechanisms to hot deserts in C. nubiana. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Influence of Environmental and Productive Factors on the Biodiversity of Lactic Acid Bacteria Population from Sheep Milk
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2180; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112180 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Milk is a typical and satisfactory medium for the growth of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These microorganisms are of vital importance in the quality of the milk since they contribute to its preservation and give differential organoleptic properties to the final product. Furthermore, [...] Read more.
Milk is a typical and satisfactory medium for the growth of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These microorganisms are of vital importance in the quality of the milk since they contribute to its preservation and give differential organoleptic properties to the final product. Furthermore, LABs can act as biocontrol agents in the dairy industry by inhibiting the growth of undesirable bacteria present in milk and by improving the quality of dairy products such as cheese. In this context, knowing the transfer routes used by LABs from the livestock environment to the milk is of great importance within the dairy industry. Therefore, the objectives of the present study were to expand the knowledge of the LAB population present in the milk of Manchego ewe by means of DNA sequencing techniques and to evaluate the possible transfers of LAB species based on the management of each dairy farm. Samples of bulk tank milk, air (from the milking parlour and from the livestock housing), animal feed and teat surface (taken from 10 sheep per farm) were collected in 12 traditional livestock farms in Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), where each farm presented differences regarding their farming practices. A mixed-effects model was used to evaluate the effects of livestock practices on the distribution of LAB species. Results showed that the vast majority of species identified in the milk had an isolate that was also found in other matrices, which could indicate a microbial transference via the livestock environment to the milk. In addition, the mixed model showed that the factors that positively influence the LAB count were the low-line milking system and the daily use of acid detergent in cleaning the milking machine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into the Milk)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Haemoparasites—Challenging and Wasting Infections in Small Ruminants: A Review
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112179 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Haemoparasites include bacteria, mycoplasma, protozoa and flagellates inhabiting the bloodstream of living hosts. These infections occur worldwide and are transmitted by vectors, especially ticks and tsetse flies. Geographical distribution varies due to movements of animals and vectors between geographical areas, and even between [...] Read more.
Haemoparasites include bacteria, mycoplasma, protozoa and flagellates inhabiting the bloodstream of living hosts. These infections occur worldwide and are transmitted by vectors, especially ticks and tsetse flies. Geographical distribution varies due to movements of animals and vectors between geographical areas, and even between countries and continents. These changes may be caused by climate change, directly and indirectly, and have a huge effect on the epidemiology of these microbes. Active and ongoing surveillance is necessary to obtain reliable maps concerning the distribution of these infections in order to do proper risk assessment and efficient prophylactic treatment. Genera Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Babesia, Theileria and Trypanosoma include common haemoparasite species in small ruminants causing a variety of clinical manifestations from high fatality rates to more subclinical infections, depending on the species or strain involved. These infections may also cause ill-thift or long-lasting wasting conditions. Life-long infections are a common feature of these pathogens. The present review will focus on haemoparasites in small ruminants, especially related to challenging and wasting infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wasting Diseases Affecting Sheep)
Open AccessArticle
Baiting/Luring Improves Detection Probability and Species Identification—A Case Study of Mustelids with Camera Traps
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112178 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 208
Abstract
Motion-triggered trail cameras (hereafter camera traps) are powerful tools which are increasingly used in biological research, especially for species inventories or the estimation of species activity. However, camera traps do not always reliably detect animal visits, as a target species might be too [...] Read more.
Motion-triggered trail cameras (hereafter camera traps) are powerful tools which are increasingly used in biological research, especially for species inventories or the estimation of species activity. However, camera traps do not always reliably detect animal visits, as a target species might be too fast, too small, or too far away to trigger an image. Therefore, researchers often apply attractants, such as food or glandular scents, to increase the likelihood of capturing animals. Moreover, with attractants, individuals might remain in front of a camera trap for longer periods leading to a higher number of images and enhanced image quality, which in turn might aid in species identification. The current study compared how two commonly used attractants, bait (tuna) and glandular scent (mustelid mix), affected the detection and the number of images taken by camera traps compared to control camera sites with conventional camera traps. We used a before–after control group design, including a baseline. Attractants increased the probability of detecting the target species and number of images. Tuna experiments produced on average 7.25 times as many images per visit than control camera traps, and scent lures produced on average 18.7 times as many images per visit than the control traps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mammal Trapping, Wildlife Conservation, and Animal Welfare)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Dietary Crude Protein on Animal Performance, Blood Biochemistry Profile, Ruminal Fermentation Parameters and Carcass and Meat Quality of Heavy Fattening Assaf Lambs
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112177 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 310
Abstract
Thirty Assaf male lambs (30 ± 1.9 kg of body weight) were allocated to three groups fed diets differing in their crude protein (CP) contents (low protein (LP), 134 g CP/kg dry matter (DM); medium protein (MP), 157 g CP/kg DM; and high [...] Read more.
Thirty Assaf male lambs (30 ± 1.9 kg of body weight) were allocated to three groups fed diets differing in their crude protein (CP) contents (low protein (LP), 134 g CP/kg dry matter (DM); medium protein (MP), 157 g CP/kg DM; and high protein (HP), 173 g CP/kg DM) to test the effect of dietary protein content on animal performance, rumen function, animal health, and carcass and meat quality. Feed intake was recorded daily, and animals were weighed every second week. Lambs were blood-sampled to determine their acid–base status and biochemical profile. After 70 days of trial, lambs were slaughtered, and the ruminal content was collected to assess ruminal fermentation. Finally, carcass and meat quality were evaluated. Dry matter intake and average daily gain increased (p < 0.05) when increasing the level of dietary CP. There were not significant differences (p > 0.05) in the evaluated parameters in the rumen fluid of lambs. There were not significant differences in carcass or meat quality (p > 0.05) and in those parameters related to blood acid–base status. Several biochemical parameters showed differences depending on diet CP level (urea, protein, albumin, glucose, and calcium; p < 0.05). Feeding costs calculated in relation to cold carcass weight decreased when dietary CP decreased. The results suggested that a dietary protein content greater than 157 g/kg DM would be required to maximize growth performance in Assaf male fattening lambs under 50 kg of body weight. However, a protein content beyond that level was not found to improve either carcass or meat quality and could worsen profitability. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Frequency of Fresh Pasture Allocation on Pasture Utilisation and the Performance of High Yielding Dairy Cows
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112176 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 303
Abstract
Pasture allocation frequency (PAF) can influence pasture availability and grazing behaviour, which subsequently may impact on animal performance. Limited research to-date has investigated grazing management methods to improve the performance of high production dairy cows whilst also achieving high grass utilisation rates. This [...] Read more.
Pasture allocation frequency (PAF) can influence pasture availability and grazing behaviour, which subsequently may impact on animal performance. Limited research to-date has investigated grazing management methods to improve the performance of high production dairy cows whilst also achieving high grass utilisation rates. This study evaluated the effect of three different PAF’s (12, 24 and 36 h) on pasture utilisation, the performance of high yielding dairy cows and the interaction with parity. The experiment included two 60-day periods, 90 spring calving dairy cows (27 primiparous animals) in period one and 87 (24 primiparous animals) in period two. The average pre-grazing sward height (11.4 cm) was similar for all treatments in both periods. In period one, pasture utilisation rate was significantly higher (8%) in the 36 h compared to the 12 h treatment. In period two, milk energy output was significantly greater for primiparous animals in the 36 h treatment relative to the other treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects and Safe Inclusion of Narbonne Vetch (Vicia narbonensis) in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Diets: Towards a More Sustainable Aquaculture
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112175 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Aquaculture’s sustainability deeply relies on the identification and inclusion of alternative raw materials. Although meals from insects and/or byproducts from different industries are being recently tested, the meal from terrestrial vegetable species is still the main substitution candidate for fish meal. Here the [...] Read more.
Aquaculture’s sustainability deeply relies on the identification and inclusion of alternative raw materials. Although meals from insects and/or byproducts from different industries are being recently tested, the meal from terrestrial vegetable species is still the main substitution candidate for fish meal. Here the effects of 0% (Control), 10% (A10) and 30% (A30) inclusion of Narbonne vetch (Vicia narbonensis; ZV-156 strain) meal in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) diets was assessed in a 63-day feeding trial by means of growth performance, histopathological, nutritional value of the fish fillet and blood biochemistry analyses. A dose-response trial was conducted in triplicate with 25 rainbow trout juveniles (20 g average body weight) per 500 L tank. Narbonne vetch meal decreased total intestine protease activity in vitro (from 26.81% to 48% inhibition), although high temperature partially inhibited the action of antinutritional factors (ANFs). No differences in fish growth performance and no severe histopathological alterations on the proximal intestine were observed between 10% Narbonne vetch inclusion and Control groups. In contrast, high inclusion (30%) of Narbonne vetch led to poor growth performance (30% reduction on final growth) and severe histopathological alterations (e.g., loss of brush border integrity, high number of villi fusion, reduced goblet cells density as well as reduced width of submucosa, muscular and serosa layers). Furthermore, while the A30 diet decreased docosahexaenoic fatty acid (FA) content in fish fillets, the A10 diet improved monounsaturated FA content when compared to that of the Control group. No altered levels of cholesterol, glucose or triglycerides in blood plasma and/or histopathological effects on the liver were observed among fish fed the different experimental diets. Although further research efforts (e.g., identifying potential enzymatic treatments to decrease the action of ANFs from Narbonne vetch meal) might be required, present results show that a low inclusion (10%) of Narbonne vetch in rainbow trout diets is possible. The inclusion of locally produced legumes such a Narbonne vetch might be an interesting approach to reduce carbon footprint in European aquaculture and the dependency on other alternative raw materials such as soybean (Glycine max) imported from third countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feeding Research for Nutrition and Health Improvement in Fish)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Dietary ARA Improves COX Activity in Broodstock and Offspring Survival Fitness of a Model Organism (Medaka Oryzias latipes)
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112174 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 199
Abstract
A 3-week feeding trial was conducted in medaka broodstock (age five months) to examine the effect of dietary arachidonic acid (ARA) level (range: 4–23 mg g−1 of total fatty acids (TFAs)) on fertility, cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, egg size, sperm motility parameters, hatching [...] Read more.
A 3-week feeding trial was conducted in medaka broodstock (age five months) to examine the effect of dietary arachidonic acid (ARA) level (range: 4–23 mg g−1 of total fatty acids (TFAs)) on fertility, cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, egg size, sperm motility parameters, hatching rate and weight of hatch, survival and growth of larvae. After spawn induction and dietary exposure to 4 mg ARA g−1 TFA, broodstock were fed a diet containing ARA in the amounts: 4 (continued, as control), 5, 14 and 23 mg g−1 TFA. COX1 activity in the liver and the number of COX2-positive cells in the ovaries was increased in females fed the diets containing the two highest amounts of ARA. The highest sperm motility parameters were observed in males fed a diet containing 23 mg ARA g−1 TFA. The hatchability rate and bodyweight of hatchlings were higher in the group obtained from broodstock fed a diet containing 23 mg ARA g−1 TFA (79% and 0.66 mg fish−1, respectively) compared with 4 mg ARA g−1 TFA (50% and 0.40 mg fish−1). The average mortality of offspring obtained from this group at 7 days post hatching was significantly higher than that of all other groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproduction of Wild and Cultured Fish)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Heat Stress Increases In Vitro Hindgut Fermentation of Distinct Substrates in Iberian Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112173 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Heat stress reduces the feed intake and growth of pigs. We hypothesized that heat stress affects the intestinal fermentation capacity of pigs. Sixteen Iberian pigs (44 ± 1.0 kg) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments (eight pigs/treatment) for 4 weeks—heat stress [...] Read more.
Heat stress reduces the feed intake and growth of pigs. We hypothesized that heat stress affects the intestinal fermentation capacity of pigs. Sixteen Iberian pigs (44 ± 1.0 kg) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments (eight pigs/treatment) for 4 weeks—heat stress (HS; 30 °C) ad libitum or thermoneutral (TN; 20 °C) pair feeding. Frozen rectum contents were used as inocula for 24 h in vitro incubations in which a mixture of starches, citrus pectin, inulin from chicory, and cellulose were the substrates. Cellulose was poorly degraded, whereas pectin and the mixture of starches were the most fermentable substrates according to total short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. The mixture of starches and inulin produced the greatest amount of gas. For all substrates, heat stress enhanced gas production (8%, p = 0.001), total SCFA production (16%, p = 0.001), and the production of acetate and propionate (12% and 42%, respectively; p = 0.001). The increased isoacid production (33%, p = 0.001) and ammonia concentration (12%, p = 0.001) may indicate protein fermentation under heat stress. In conclusion, the in vitro intestinal fermentation capacity of pigs under heat stress was increased compared to thermoneutral conditions, which may indicate an adaptive response to heat stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Different Laying Hen Species on Odour Emissions
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112172 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Odour is one of the main environmental concerns in the laying hen industry and may also influence animal health and production performance. Previous studies showed that odours from the laying hen body are primarily produced from the microbial fermentation (breakdown) of organic materials [...] Read more.
Odour is one of the main environmental concerns in the laying hen industry and may also influence animal health and production performance. Previous studies showed that odours from the laying hen body are primarily produced from the microbial fermentation (breakdown) of organic materials in the caecum, and different laying hen species may have different odour production potentials. This study was conducted to evaluate the emissions of two primary odorous gases, ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S), from six different laying hen species (Hyline, Lohmann, Nongda, Jingfen, Xinghua and Zhusi). An in vitro fermentation technique was adopted in this study, which has been reported to be an appropriate method for simulating gas production from the microbial fermentation of organic materials in the caecum. The results of this study show that Jingfen produced the greatest volume of gas after 12 h of fermentation (p < 0.05). Hyline had the highest, while Lohmann had the lowest, total NH3 emissions (p < 0.05). The total H2S emissions of Zhusi and Hyline were higher than those of Lohmann, Jingfen and Xinghua (p < 0.05), while Xinghua exhibited the lowest total H2S emissions (p < 0.05). Of the six laying hen species, Xinghua was identified as the best species because it produced the lowest total amount of NH3 + H2S (39.94 µg). The results for the biochemical indicators showed that the concentration of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) from Zhusi was higher than that for the other five species, while the pH in Zhusi was lower (p < 0.01), and the concentrations of ammonium nitrogen (NH4+), uric acid and urea in Xinghua were lower than those in the other species (p < 0.01). Hyline had the highest change in SO42− concentration during the fermentation processes (p < 0.05). In addition, the results of the correlation analysis suggested that NH3 emission is positively related to urease activities but is not significantly related to the ureC gene number. Furthermore, H2S emission was observed to be significantly related to the reduction of SO42− but showed no connection with the aprA gene number. Overall, our findings provide a reference for future feeding programmes attempting to reduce odour pollution in the laying hen industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Advances in Poultry Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Extracellular Vesicles, the Road toward the Improvement of ART Outcomes
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112171 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Nowadays, farm animal industries use assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as a tool to manage herds’ reproductive outcomes, for a fast dissemination of genetic improvement as well as to bypass subfertility issues. ART comprise at least one of the following procedures: collection and handling [...] Read more.
Nowadays, farm animal industries use assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as a tool to manage herds’ reproductive outcomes, for a fast dissemination of genetic improvement as well as to bypass subfertility issues. ART comprise at least one of the following procedures: collection and handling of oocytes, sperm, and embryos in in vitro conditions. Therefore, in these conditions, the interaction with the oviductal environment of gametes and early embryos during fertilization and the first stages of embryo development is lost. As a result, embryos obtained in in vitro fertilization (IVF) have less quality in comparison with those obtained in vivo, and have lower chances to implant and develop into viable offspring. In addition, media currently used for IVF are very similar to those empirically developed more than five decades ago. Recently, the importance of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the fertility process has flourished. EVs are recognized as effective intercellular vehicles for communication as they deliver their cargo of proteins, lipids, and genetic material. Thus, during their transit through the female reproductive tract both gametes, oocyte and spermatozoa (that previously encountered EVs produced by male reproductive tract) interact with EVs produced by the female reproductive tract, passing them important information that contributes to a successful fertilization and embryo development. This fact highlights that the reproductive tract EVs cargo has an important role in reproductive events, which is missing in current ART media. This review aims to recapitulate recent advances in EVs functions on the fertilization process, highlighting the latest proposals with an applied approach to enhance ART outcome through EV utilization as an additive to the media of current ART procedures. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Transport, Associated Handling Procedures and Behaviour of Calves Marketed through Chilean Auction Markets
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112170 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 223
Abstract
In Chile, selling animals through livestock markets is common. At markets, stressful events like loading, unloading and travel are at least duplicated. We described procedures associated with transport of calves at 20 markets and evaluated compliance with Chilean law by performing a survey [...] Read more.
In Chile, selling animals through livestock markets is common. At markets, stressful events like loading, unloading and travel are at least duplicated. We described procedures associated with transport of calves at 20 markets and evaluated compliance with Chilean law by performing a survey of drivers who transport calves from origin farms to markets (OM) and from markets to destination (MD). During loading and unloading, we evaluated handling by stockpersons, facilities, fitness for transport, and behavioural indicators of the calves through direct observation using protocols. A total of 80% of drivers claimed having the training required by law. The mean travel time was 1 h 31 min for OM and 1 h 44 min for MD journeys (overall range 5 min–40.5 h). Most drivers used bedding material and provided adequate space availability. A total of 99.2% of the observed calves were assessed as fit to transport; slipping, turning back, vocalizing and balking were frequent behaviours observed during loading and unloading. Prohibited practices like prodding and hitting using driving devices were still observed, mainly during loading. Compliance with the law during transport of calves was adhered to; however, the associated handling within markets was still inadequate, evidencing need for training in order to improve animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Transport on the Road: In Practice)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Stage-Dependent Expression of Protein Gene Product 9.5 in Donkey Testes
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112169 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 178
Abstract
Molecular markers can be used to identify and isolate specific developmental stages of germ cells and Leydig cells. Protein gene product (PGP)9.5 expression in spermatogonia and Leydig cells has been reported in several species. The stages of spermatogonia and Leydig cells expressing PGP9.5 [...] Read more.
Molecular markers can be used to identify and isolate specific developmental stages of germ cells and Leydig cells. Protein gene product (PGP)9.5 expression in spermatogonia and Leydig cells has been reported in several species. The stages of spermatogonia and Leydig cells expressing PGP9.5 vary depending on the species and reproductive stages. Thus, the objectives of this study were (1) to identify the localization of PGP9.5 in donkey testicular cells, and (2) to compare the expression patterns of PGP9.5 in donkey testicular cells between pre- and post-pubertal stages. Testes samples were collected following the routine field castration of six donkeys. Western blotting was performed to verify the cross-reactivity of the rabbit anti-human PGP9.5 antibody to donkey testes. Immunofluorescence was performed to investigate the expression pattern of PGP9.5 in testicular tissues at different reproductive stages. In Western blotting, the protein band of the PGP9.5 antibody appeared at approximately 27 kDa, whereas the band was not observed in the negative control treated with normal mouse IgG. In the pre-pubertal stage, the expression of deleted in azoospermia-like (DAZL) was found in some spermatogonia in pre-pubertal testicular tissues. However, the immunolabeling of PGP9.5 in testicular tissue was not observed in the seminiferous tubules. In stages 1 and 2, spermatogonia were immunolabeled with either PGP9.5 or DAZL. In contrast, PGP9.5 and DAZL were co-immunolabeled in some of the spermatogonia in stages 3 to 8. Interestingly, some Leydig cells were immunolabeled with PGP9.5 in both pre- and post-pubertal stages. In conclusion, the PGP9.5 antibody can be used as a tool to identify and isolate spermatogonia from seminiferous tubules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Mediation of miR-34a/miR-449c for Immune Cytokines in Acute Cold/Heat-Stressed Broiler Chicken
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112168 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 193
Abstract
An increasing amount of evidence has revealed that microRNAs (miRNAs) participated in immune regulation and reaction to acute cold and heat stresses. As a new type of post-transcriptional regulatory factor, miRNA has received widespread attention; However, the specific mechanism used for this regulation [...] Read more.
An increasing amount of evidence has revealed that microRNAs (miRNAs) participated in immune regulation and reaction to acute cold and heat stresses. As a new type of post-transcriptional regulatory factor, miRNA has received widespread attention; However, the specific mechanism used for this regulation still needs to be determined. In this study, thirty broilers at the same growth period were divided into three groups and treated with different temperature and humidity of CS (10–15 °C and 90% Relative Humidity (RH)), HS (39 °C and 90% RH), and NS (26 °C and 50–60% RH) respectively. After 6 h, splenic tissues were collected from all study groups. miRNA sequencing was performed to identify the differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) between HS, CS, and NS. We found 33, 37, and 7 DEMs in the HS-NS, HS-CS, CS-NS group. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis showed that DEMs were significantly enriched in cytokine–cytokine receptor interaction and functioned as the cellular responders to stress. We chose two miRNA, miR-34a and miR-449c, from the same family and differential expressed in HS-CS and HS-NS group, as the research objects to predict and verify the target genes. The dual-luciferase reporter assay and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) confirmed that two cytokines, IL-2 and IL-12α, were the direct target genes of miR-34a and miR-449c. To further understand the mediation mechanism of miRNAs in acute cold/heat-stressed broiler chicken, a splenic cytokines profile was constructed. The results showed that IL-1β was strongly related to acute heat stress in broiler chicken, and from this we predicted that the increased expression of IL-1β might promote the expression of miR-34a, inducing the upregulation of interferon-γ (INF-γ) and IL-17. Our finds have laid a theoretical foundation for the breeding of poultry resistance and alleviation of the adverse effects of stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity in Livestock and Companion Animals)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Ileal Digestibility and Total Tract Retention of Phosphorus in Inorganic Phosphates Fed to Broiler Chickens Using the Direct Method
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112167 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 175
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine and compare the phosphorus (P) utilization of inorganic phosphates fed to broiler chickens using the direct method. On day 15 of age, six hundred forty 15-day-old male Ross 308 broiler chickens (initial body weight = [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine and compare the phosphorus (P) utilization of inorganic phosphates fed to broiler chickens using the direct method. On day 15 of age, six hundred forty 15-day-old male Ross 308 broiler chickens (initial body weight = 399 ± 38 g) were assigned to five experimental diets with 16 birds per cage in a randomized complete block design. The experimental diets consisted of four semi-purified diets containing monocalcium phosphate, monodicalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, and tricalcium phosphate as the sole P sources. Additionally, a P-free diet was prepared to measure basal endogenous P loss. Chromic oxide was added to the experimental diets as an indigestible index. Excreta were collected per cage on days 17 to 18 of age, and all birds were asphyxiated with carbon dioxide on day 19 of age for ileal digesta collection. The cage was an experimental unit, and the number of replications per each treatment was eight except for the tricalcium phosphate treatment (n = 4). There was no interaction observed between the P source and the collection site (ileal digestibility vs. total tract retention). Phosphorus utilization differed (p < 0.05) among inorganic phosphates and the ileal digestibility of P was greater (p < 0.05) than the total tract retention. In conclusion, the standardized ileal digestibility of P in inorganic phosphates ranged from 56.7% to 89.8% and ileal digestibility was greater than the total tract retention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feed Ingredients for Swine and Poultry)
Open AccessArticle
Meningitis Caused by Streptococcus agalactiae in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus): Infection and Inflammatory Response
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112166 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 253
Abstract
Streptococcus agalactiae (Sta) of Lancefield group B is the primary etiological agent of bacterial meningitis in Nile tilapia and newborn humans. Thus, the study of this disease is of fundamental importance for aquaculture and human medicine. Additionally, elucidation of the mechanisms [...] Read more.
Streptococcus agalactiae (Sta) of Lancefield group B is the primary etiological agent of bacterial meningitis in Nile tilapia and newborn humans. Thus, the study of this disease is of fundamental importance for aquaculture and human medicine. Additionally, elucidation of the mechanisms involved in the host–pathogenic response is important for the success of new therapies. In the present study, we elucidated important aspects of the innate immune response in the brain tissue of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) infected by Sta. The neuroinflammatory process in the meninges started with the migration of MHC class II and CD68 + cells, production of TNF-alpha, and the effective immune response to Sta was mediated by the increased iNOs+. In conclusion, the present study brings a partial understanding of the pathophysiological and neuroinflammatory mechanisms in meningitis in Sta infected tilapia, enabling important advances in the therapy of this disease as well as the possibility of using this biological model to understand human meningitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteria-Related Diseases in Fish Species)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle: Observations in a Large Herd of Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cows
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112165 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Multiple pregnancies have devastating consequences on the herd economy of dairy cattle. This observational study examines incidence patterns based on data from the ultrasonographic examination of 1130 multiple pregnancies in cows in their third lactation or more carrying twins (98.8%), triplets (1.1%), or [...] Read more.
Multiple pregnancies have devastating consequences on the herd economy of dairy cattle. This observational study examines incidence patterns based on data from the ultrasonographic examination of 1130 multiple pregnancies in cows in their third lactation or more carrying twins (98.8%), triplets (1.1%), or quadruplets (0.08%), and 3160 of their peers carrying singletons. Cows became pregnant following a spontaneous estrus with no previous hormone treatments. Irrespective of a significant decrease (p < 0.0001) in the conception rate (28–34 days post-insemination) during the warm period of the year, the multiple pregnancy rate was similar for both warm (26.5%) and cool (26.3%) periods. The incidence of unilateral multiple pregnancies (all embryos in the same uterine horn) was higher than that of bilateral pregnancies (at least one embryo in each uterine horn): 54.4% versus 45.6% (p < 0.0001). This difference rose to 17% during the warm season (p = 0.03). Pregnancy was monitored in unilateral multiple pregnancies until abortion or parturition (n = 615). In the warm period, the parturition rate was 43% compared to 61% recorded in the cool period (p < 0.0001). Thus, a warm climate is the main factor compromising the fate of multiple pregnancies. Some clinical suggestions are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle)
Open AccessArticle
Intravenous Administration of Heat Shock-Treated MSCs Can Improve Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration in Canine Spinal Cord Injury Model
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112164 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 186
Abstract
Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI). However, many transplanted cells die within a few days, eventually limiting the efficacy of cellular therapy. To overcome this problem, we focused on the potential of heat shock [...] Read more.
Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI). However, many transplanted cells die within a few days, eventually limiting the efficacy of cellular therapy. To overcome this problem, we focused on the potential of heat shock (HS) proteins in facilitating recovery from cell damage and protecting against cytotoxicity. PCR results showed that the expression of neurotrophic factor, anti-inflammatory, stemness, and homing genes increased in HS-treated MSCs. We investigated whether HS-treated MSCs could promote recovery of hindlimb function in an acute canine SCI model. We compared the effects of intravenous transplantation with (i) lactated Ringer’s solution as a control, (ii) green fluorescent protein-expressing MSCs (MSCs-GFP), and (iii) GFP-expressing and HS-treated MSCs (MSCs-GFP-HS). Spinal cords were harvested at four weeks and used for Western blot and histopathological analyses. The MSCs-GFP-HS group showed significant improvements in hindlimb function from weeks 3 and 4 compared with the other groups. This group also showed higher expression of neural markers, fewer intervening fibrotic changes, and pronounced myelination. These results suggest that induction of an HS response in MSCs could promote neural sparing. In conclusion, transplantation of HS-treated MSCs could improve neuroprotection and neuroregeneration in acute SCI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regeneration in Animals)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop