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Animals, Volume 12, Issue 16 (August-2 2022) – 149 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The study of dispersal in animals may help in better understanding the patterns of range expansion and colonization. The black-shouldered kite (Elanus caeruleus) is a relatively recent colonizer in Europe. We describe the dispersal patterns of 47 juvenile dispersal events and investigate the effect of gender, habitat quality, timing of reproduction, and nesting hatching order to test two competing hypotheses about natal dispersal. On average, males and females dispersed from their natal areas over nine (i.e., 26.15 km) and fifteen (i.e., 43.79 km) breeding territories, respectively. We discuss our results according to predictions from the resources competition and wandering hypotheses. The information provided by this crucial demographic parameter would be of great interest for implementing conservation plans for this colonizing species in Europe. View this paper
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Article
Low Flow versus No Flow: Ischaemia Reperfusion Injury Following Different Experimental Models in the Equine Small Intestine
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162158 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 425
Abstract
In experimental studies investigating strangulating intestinal lesions in horses, different ischaemia models have been used with diverging results. Therefore, the aim was to comparatively describe ischaemia reperfusion injury (IRI) in a low flow (LF) and no flow (NF) model. Under general anaesthesia, 120 [...] Read more.
In experimental studies investigating strangulating intestinal lesions in horses, different ischaemia models have been used with diverging results. Therefore, the aim was to comparatively describe ischaemia reperfusion injury (IRI) in a low flow (LF) and no flow (NF) model. Under general anaesthesia, 120 min of jejunal ischaemia followed by 120 min of reperfusion was induced in 14 warmbloods. During ischaemia, blood flow was reduced by 80% (LF, n = 7) or by 100% (NF, n = 7). Intestinal blood flow and oxygen saturation were measured by Laser Doppler fluxmetry and spectrophotometry. Clinical, histological, immunohistochemical and Ussing chamber analyses were performed on intestinal samples collected hourly. Tissue oxygen saturation was significantly lower in NF ischaemia. The LF group exhibited high variability in oxygen saturation and mucosal damage. Histologically, more haemorrhage was found in the LF group at all time points. Cleaved-caspase-3 and calprotectin-stained cells increased during reperfusion in both groups. After NF ischaemia, the tissue conductance was significantly higher during reperfusion. These results aid in the selection of suitable experimental models for future studies. Although the LF model has been suggested to be more representative for clinical strangulating small intestinal disease, the NF model produced more consistent IRI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equine Colic)
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Article
Movement Patterns of Juvenile Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta L. 1758) and Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas L. 1758) Hatched in Captivity and Released in the Korean Waters
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162157 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 413
Abstract
With most sea turtle populations declining, activities to conserve their habitat and nesting grounds and restore their populations are being implemented worldwide. To preserve the Northwestern Pacific populations, the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea has been releasing artificially propagated sea turtles, but [...] Read more.
With most sea turtle populations declining, activities to conserve their habitat and nesting grounds and restore their populations are being implemented worldwide. To preserve the Northwestern Pacific populations, the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea has been releasing artificially propagated sea turtles, but whether these individuals join the wild population remains unknown. The present study aimed to determine the movement patterns of artificially propagated juvenile loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles fitted with satellite transmitters on their carapaces and released in the waters of Jeju or Yeosu, Republic of Korea, between August 2018 and April 2022. Loggerheads traveled northward to the East Sea, whereas green turtles moved west or southwest. Two 36-month-old and two 48-month-old loggerheads moved toward their potential nursery grounds and toward their feeding grounds, respectively. Three green turtles with a curved carapace length (CCL) of <40 cm moved toward their nursery or feeding grounds, while three individuals (CCL > 45 cm) moved toward their inshore foraging areas. The travel paths were closely related to the direction of local sea currents. Our results implied that releasing artificially propagated sea turtles, considering their age and CCL, can positively contribute to the conservation of Northwestern Pacific populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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Article
Anti-Predation Responses to Conspecific versus Heterospecific Alarm Calls by the Nestlings of Two Sympatric Birds
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2156; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162156 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Predation is generally the main cause of bird mortality. Birds can use acoustic signals to increase their predation survival. Bird response to mobbing alarm calls is a form of anti-predation behavior. We used a playback technique and acoustic analysis to study the function [...] Read more.
Predation is generally the main cause of bird mortality. Birds can use acoustic signals to increase their predation survival. Bird response to mobbing alarm calls is a form of anti-predation behavior. We used a playback technique and acoustic analysis to study the function of mobbing alarm calls in the parent–offspring communication of two sympatric birds, the vinous throated parrotbill (Sinosuthora webbianus) and oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis). The chicks of these two species responded to conspecific and heterospecific mobbing alarm calls by suppressing their begging behavior. The mobbing alarm calls in these two species were similar. Mobbing alarm calls play an important role in parent–offspring communication, and chicks can eavesdrop on heterospecific alarm calls to increase their own survival. Eavesdropping behavior and the similarity of alarm call acoustics suggest that the evolution of alarm calls is conservative and favors sympatric birds that have coevolved to use the same calls to reduce predation risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bird Culture: Diversity and Functions of Bird Vocalizations)
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Article
Digestive Tract Morphology and Gut Microbiota Jointly Determine an Efficient Digestive Strategy in Subterranean Rodents: Plateau Zokor
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162155 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 368
Abstract
Rodents’ lifestyles vary in different environments, and to adapt to various lifestyles specific digestion strategies have been developed. Among these strategies, the morphology of the digestive tracts and the gut microbiota are considered to play the most important roles in such adaptations. However, [...] Read more.
Rodents’ lifestyles vary in different environments, and to adapt to various lifestyles specific digestion strategies have been developed. Among these strategies, the morphology of the digestive tracts and the gut microbiota are considered to play the most important roles in such adaptations. However, how subterranean rodents adapt to extreme environments through regulating gut microbial diversity and morphology of the digestive tract has yet to be fully studied. Here, we conducted the comparisons of the gastrointestinal morphology, food intake, food assimilation, food digestibility and gut microbiota of plateau zokor Eospalax baileyi in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and laboratory rats Rattus norvegicus to further understand the survival strategy in a typical subterranean rodent species endemic to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Our results revealed that plateau zokor evolved an efficient foraging strategy with low food intake, high food digestibility, and ultimately achieved a similar amount of food assimilation to laboratory rats. The length and weight of the digestive tract of the plateau zokor was significantly higher than the laboratory rat. Particularly, the weight and length of the large intestine and cecum in plateau zokor is three times greater than that of the laboratory rat. Microbiome analysis showed that genus (i.e., Prevotella, Oscillospira, CF231, Ruminococcus and Bacteroides), which are usually associated with cellulose degradation, were significantly enriched in laboratory rats, compared to plateau zokor. However, prediction of metagenomic function revealed that both plateau zokor and laboratory rats shared the same functions in carbohydrate metabolism and energy metabolism. The higher digestibility of crude fiber in plateau zokor was mainly driven by the sizes of cecum and cecum tract, as well as those gut microbiota which associated with cellulose degradation. Altogether, our results highlight that both gut microbiota and the morphology of the digestive tract are vital to the digestion in wild rodents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mammals)
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Review
Yeast β-Glucans as Fish Immunomodulators: A Review
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162154 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Administration of immunostimulants in fish is a preventive method to combat infections. A wide variety of these biological molecules exist, among which one of the yeast wall compounds stands out for its different biological activities. The β-glucan that forms the structural part of [...] Read more.
Administration of immunostimulants in fish is a preventive method to combat infections. A wide variety of these biological molecules exist, among which one of the yeast wall compounds stands out for its different biological activities. The β-glucan that forms the structural part of yeast is capable of generating immune activity in fish by cell receptor recognition. The most frequently used β-glucans for the study of mechanisms of action are those of commercial origin, with doses recommended by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, their immune activity is inefficient in some fish species, and increasing the dose may show adverse effects, including immunosuppression. Conversely, experimental β-glucans from other yeast species show different activities, such as antibacterial, antioxidant, healing, and stress tolerance properties. Therefore, this review analyses the most recent scientific reports on the use of yeast β-glucans in freshwater and marine fish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Fish and Shellfish Immunology)
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Article
Evaluation of Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) Semen Quality and Semen Cryopreservation
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162153 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The alarming decline in sturgeon populations doubled by growing demands for sturgeon products, urge us to prevent the loss of these species. Fish stocking in natural habitats and developing fish farms are viable solutions, which can be successfully implemented with the help of [...] Read more.
The alarming decline in sturgeon populations doubled by growing demands for sturgeon products, urge us to prevent the loss of these species. Fish stocking in natural habitats and developing fish farms are viable solutions, which can be successfully implemented with the help of reproductive biotechnologies. Despite the fact that semen cryopreservation is admittedly an important step for saving the Russian sturgeon, a reproducible standard method with good results has yet to be identified. Sperm quality assessment is essential for quantifying the impact of cryopreservation on spermatozoa. The purpose of our study was to provide additional information regarding semen cryopreservation and semen quality evaluation for the Russian sturgeon. Our study method is based on the use of two yolk-free extenders (with different cryoprotectants: DMSO and methanol) for freezing semen, using a simple freezing protocol. Parameters such as volume, concentration, motility, morphology and membrane integrity were evaluated. In conclusion, cryopreservation of Russian sturgeon spermatozoa using an extender containing methanol as cryoprotectant led to high egg fertilization percentages (72.67 ± 5.4%) even if the total motility values recorded for thawed semen were quite low (18–25%). Additionally, we identified two optimal stains for morphological studies and morphometry (Spermac stain kit and Trypan Blue Solution). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Reproduction in Farm Animals)
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Article
Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Vaccination Cost Estimates in Burkina Faso
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162152 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 453
Abstract
Every year the government organizes country-wide vaccination campaigns targeting peste des petits ruminants (PPR) for small ruminants (sheep and goats). Despite the heavy investment in vaccination, no study has either rigorously estimated or described the cost of vaccine delivery. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
Every year the government organizes country-wide vaccination campaigns targeting peste des petits ruminants (PPR) for small ruminants (sheep and goats). Despite the heavy investment in vaccination, no study has either rigorously estimated or described the cost of vaccine delivery. This study aimed to fill this gap by assessing and describing the cost of delivery of vaccines against PPR using the 2020 vaccination campaign data. The microcosting approach based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to construct comprehensive multiyear plans (cMYP) for human immunization programs was used. The cost data is presented for the public and private vaccine delivery channels separately and analyzed using three approaches considering activity lines, inputs, and nature of cost (fixed versus variable). Results show that the unit cost of vaccinating a sheep or goat is estimated at XOF 169 (USD 0.3) and XOF 103 (USD 0.18) through the public and private channels, respectively. Using the activity line framework, we found that the field activities including charges for vaccinator, cost of vaccination materials, and field transportation account for more than 50% of the vaccination cost. In terms of inputs, the personnel cost is the most significant contributor with 65%. Fixed costs are higher in the public sector with up to 46% compared to the private sector which is estimated to take 26% of the cost. This study informs veterinary services’ investment decision options for a better allocation of resources in implementing PPR and other small ruminant disease control efforts in Burkina Faso and the Sahel. Full article
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Article
“Emotional Proximity” and “Spatial Proximity”: Higher Relationship Quality and Nearer Distance Both Strengthen Scratch Contagion in Tibetan Macaques
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162151 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Behavioral contagion has been defined as a phenomenon in which an unlearned behavior automatically triggers a similar behavior in others. Previous studies showed that a behavioral contagion might have the function of strengthening social relationships, promoting group coordination and maintaining social cohesion. However, [...] Read more.
Behavioral contagion has been defined as a phenomenon in which an unlearned behavior automatically triggers a similar behavior in others. Previous studies showed that a behavioral contagion might have the function of strengthening social relationships, promoting group coordination and maintaining social cohesion. However, so far, there are few studies investigating the correlation between contagious scratching and social bonding. Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) live in multi-male and multi-female cohesive matrilineal groups, and scratching is usually observed in their affiliated interactions. We investigated the process of scratch contagion in one group of free-ranging Tibetan macaques and explored whether behavioral contagion could consolidate social relationships and maintain social stability. Results showed that the scratching was contagious and correlated with relationship quality and spatial distance. In dyads with a higher Dyadic Composite Sociality Index (DSI), the contagion was strong. In addition, contagions occurred more frequently and faster among individuals nearer to each other. In terms of social groups, members with higher social centrality participated in more behavioral contagion, whether as expressers or observers. Our findings provide new perspectives for studying behavioral contagions in humans and animals. Full article
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Article
Identification of Genes Associated with Crest Cushion Development in the Chinese Crested Duck
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162150 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 350
Abstract
The crest trait is a specific and widely distributed phenotype in birds. However, the shape and function vary in different species of birds. To understand the mechanism of crest formation, the present study used RNA sequencing and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) [...] Read more.
The crest trait is a specific and widely distributed phenotype in birds. However, the shape and function vary in different species of birds. To understand the mechanism of crest formation, the present study used RNA sequencing and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to identify the crest-cushion-associated genes in the Chinese crested (CC) duck. As a result, 28, 40, 32, 33, and 126 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between CC and cherry valley (CV) ducks at the embryonic days (E)15, E22, E28, D7 (7 days old), and D42 stages, respectively. In addition, the results of WGCNA show that 3697 (turquoise module), 485 (green-yellow module), 687 (brown module), 205 (red module), and 1070 (yellow module) hub genes were identified in the E15, E22, E28, D7, and D42 stages, respectively. Based on the results of DEGs and WGCNA Venn analysis, three, two, zero, one, and seven genes were found to be associated with crest cushion formation at the E15, E22, E28, D7, and D42 stages, respectively. The expression of all the associated genes and some DEGs was verified by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. In conclusion, this study provided an approach revealing the molecular mechanisms underlying the crested trait development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Individual Variation in the Use of Acoustic Signals to Coordinate Group Movements among Tibetan Macaques (Macaca thibetana)
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162149 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 332
Abstract
To maintain group cohesion, social animals need to coordinate their actions during group movements. Several species use vocalizations to communicate with each other during coordination. However, the process of vocal communication and its influence in collective decision making is not clear. We studied [...] Read more.
To maintain group cohesion, social animals need to coordinate their actions during group movements. Several species use vocalizations to communicate with each other during coordination. However, the process of vocal communication and its influence in collective decision making is not clear. We studied a group of free-range Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Huangshan, China, and recorded acoustic signals during their group movements. It was found that three kinds of sounds were used in their movements. Group movements with vocalizations recruited more participants than the movements without sound. Moreover, during group departures, individuals in the front emitted a higher frequency of vocalization than individuals in the rear. Sex and social centrality both had a significant influence on vocalizations. Social centrality indicates the degree of proximity relations between two individuals in a social network. Females and individuals with high social centrality emitted more sound in group movements. However, social rank and the number of relatives did not affect the emission of sound. These results suggest that the function of calls in collective movements relates to coordinating group movements. This study provides an insight into the association of acoustic communication with collective decision making. Full article
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Communication
Immunolocalization of Nesfatin-1 in the Gastrointestinal Tract of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162148 - 22 Aug 2022
Viewed by 406
Abstract
First identified as an anorexigenic peptide, in the last decades, several studies have suggested that Nesfatin-1 (Nesf-1) is a pleiotropic hormone implicated in numerous regulatory processes in peripheral organs and tissues. In vertebrates, Nesf-1 is indeed expressed in the central nervous system and [...] Read more.
First identified as an anorexigenic peptide, in the last decades, several studies have suggested that Nesfatin-1 (Nesf-1) is a pleiotropic hormone implicated in numerous regulatory processes in peripheral organs and tissues. In vertebrates, Nesf-1 is indeed expressed in the central nervous system and peripheral organs. In this study, we characterized the pattern of Nesf-1 distribution within the digestive tract of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), composed of three gastric chambers and an intestine without a clear subdivision in the small and large intestine, also lacking a caecum. Our results indicated that Nesf-1 is widely distributed in cells of the mucosal epithelium of the gastric chambers. Most of the immunoreactivity was observed in the second chamber, compared to the first and third chambers. Immunopositivity was also found in nerve fibers and neurons, scattered or/and clustered in ganglion structures along all the examined gastrointestinal tracts. These observations add new data on the highly conserved role of Nesf-1 in the mammalian digestive system. Full article
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Article
Four Mx Genes Identified in Andrias davidianus and Characterization of Their Response to Chinese Giant Salamander Iridovirus Infection
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162147 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Amphibians, including Andrias davidianus, are declining worldwide partly due to infectious diseases. The Myxovirus resistance (Mx) gene is a typical interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene (ISG) involved in the antiviral immunity. Therefore, knowledge regarding the antiviral immunity of A. davidianus can [...] Read more.
Amphibians, including Andrias davidianus, are declining worldwide partly due to infectious diseases. The Myxovirus resistance (Mx) gene is a typical interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene (ISG) involved in the antiviral immunity. Therefore, knowledge regarding the antiviral immunity of A. davidianus can be used for improved reproduction in captivity and protection in the wild. In this study, we amplified and characterized four different A. davidianus Mx genes (adMx) and generated temporal mRNA expression profiles in healthy and Chinese giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV) infected A. davidianus by qualitative real-time PCR (qPCR). The four adMx genes ranged in length from 2008 to 2840 bp. The sequences revealed conserved protein domains including the dynamin superfamily signature motif and the tripartite guanosine-5-triphosphate (GTP)-binding motif. Gene and deduced amino acid sequence alignment revealed relatively high sequence identity with the Mx genes and proteins of other vertebrates. In phylogenetic analysis, the adMx genes clustered together, but also clustered closely with those of fish species. The four adMx genes were broadly expressed in healthy A. davidianus, but were differentially expressed in the spleen during the GSIV infection. Our results show that the adMx genes share major structural features with their homologs, suggesting similar functions to those in other species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Animal Virus, Disease and Immunity)
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Article
Transcriptomic Analysis of Circulating Leukocytes Obtained during the Recovery from Clinical Mastitis Caused by Escherichia coli in Holstein Dairy Cows
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162146 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The risk and severity of clinical infection with Escherichia coli as a causative pathogen for bovine mastitis is influenced by the hosts’ phenotypic and genotypic variables. We used RNA-Seq analysis of circulating leukocytes to investigate global transcriptomic profiles and genetic variants from Holstein [...] Read more.
The risk and severity of clinical infection with Escherichia coli as a causative pathogen for bovine mastitis is influenced by the hosts’ phenotypic and genotypic variables. We used RNA-Seq analysis of circulating leukocytes to investigate global transcriptomic profiles and genetic variants from Holstein cows with naturally occurring cases of clinical mastitis, diagnosed using clinical symptoms and milk microbiology. Healthy lactation-matched cows served as controls (CONT, n = 6). Blood samples were collected at two time periods during the recovery phase post diagnosis: EARLY (10.3 ± 1.8 days, n = 6) and LATE (46.7 ± 11 days, n = 3). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the groups were identified using CLC Genomics Workbench V21 and subjected to enrichment analysis. Variant calling was performed following GATKv3.8 best practice. The comparison of E. coli(+) EARLY and CONT cows found the up-regulation of 1090 DEGs, mainly with immune and inflammatory functions. The key signalling pathways involved NOD-like and interleukin-1 receptors and chemokines. Many up-regulated DEGs encoded antimicrobial peptides including cathelicidins, beta-defensins, S100 calcium binding proteins, haptoglobin and lactoferrin. Inflammation had largely resolved in the E. coli(+) LATE group, with only 29 up-regulated DEGs. Both EARLY and LATE cows had up-regulated DEGs encoding ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters and haemoglobin subunits were also up-regulated in LATE cows. Twelve candidate genetic variants were identified in DEGs between the infected and CONT cows. Three were in contiguous genes WIPI1, ARSG and SLC16A6 on BTA19. Two others (RAC2 and ARHGAP26) encode a Rho-family GTPase and Rho GTPase-activating protein 26. These results show that the initial inflammatory response to E. coli continued for at least 10 days despite prompt treatment and provide preliminary evidence for genetic differences between cows that may predispose them to infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Mastitis and Intramammary Infections in Dairy Farms)
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Article
The Effects of Prenatal Diet on Calf Performance and Perspectives for Fetal Programming Studies: A Meta-Analytical Investigation
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162145 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 470
Abstract
This meta-analysis aimed to identify knowledge gaps in the scientific literature on future fetal-programming studies and to investigate the factors that determine the performance of beef cows and their offspring. A dataset composed of 35 publications was used. The prenatal diet, body weight [...] Read more.
This meta-analysis aimed to identify knowledge gaps in the scientific literature on future fetal-programming studies and to investigate the factors that determine the performance of beef cows and their offspring. A dataset composed of 35 publications was used. The prenatal diet, body weight (BW), average daily gain (ADG) during pregnancy, and calf sex were elicited as possible modulators of the beef cows and their offspring performance. Then, the correlations between these variables and the outcomes of interest were investigated. A mixed multiple linear regression procedure was used to evaluate the relationships between the responses and all the possible explanatory variables. A knowledge gap was observed in studies focused on zebu animals, with respect to the offspring sex and the consequences of prenatal nutrition in early pregnancy. The absence of studies considering the possible effects promoted by the interactions between the different stressors’ sources during pregnancy was also detected. A regression analysis showed that prenatal diets with higher levels of protein improved the ADG of pregnant beef cows and that heavier cows give birth to heavier calves. Variations in the BW at weaning were related to the BW at birth and calf sex. Therefore, this research reinforces the importance of monitoring the prenatal nutrition of beef cows. Full article
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Article
Sex Determination in Immature Sierra Nevada Lizard (Timon nevadensis)
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162144 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 453
Abstract
Sex determination has a fundamental role in a captive breeding context, both for commercial reasons and in relation to animal welfare itself. However, this can be particularly difficult, especially in reptiles with little or no sexual dimorphism. Twenty-three clinically healthy young Sierra Nevada [...] Read more.
Sex determination has a fundamental role in a captive breeding context, both for commercial reasons and in relation to animal welfare itself. However, this can be particularly difficult, especially in reptiles with little or no sexual dimorphism. Twenty-three clinically healthy young Sierra Nevada lizards (Timon nevadensis) were included in this study for sex determination. The first attempt at sexing was carried out by cloacal probing. A small, buttoned probe was inserted very gently into the hemipenal pouches, and the length of the inserted part was evaluated and measured. Subsequently, for each animal, a contrast medium was administered into the cloaca, and radiography was performed within 5 min. Through probing, 11 males and 8 females were recognized. The test was, however, equivocal in four subjects. In contrast radiography, 14 males and 9 females were identified. All the animals were rechecked after 8 months through an ultrasound examination, confirming 15 of the 14 previously male sexed animals based on contrast radiography. All the animals identified as female (n = 9) by contrast radiography were confirmed. From these results, it seems that contrast radiography may have major sensitivity in sex determination compared to probing. This technique could represent a valid and less invasive aid for sexing young lizards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Herpetological Medicine and Surgery)
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Article
Reflective Empiricism and Empirical Animal Ethics
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2143; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162143 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The past few decades have seen a turn to the empirical in applied ethics. This article makes two contributions to debates on this turn: one with regard to methodology and the other with regard to scope. First, it considers empirical bioethics, which arose [...] Read more.
The past few decades have seen a turn to the empirical in applied ethics. This article makes two contributions to debates on this turn: one with regard to methodology and the other with regard to scope. First, it considers empirical bioethics, which arose out of a protest against abstract theorizing in moral philosophy and a call for more sensitivity to lived experience. Though by now an established field, methodological discussions are still centred around the question of how empirical research can inform normative analysis. This article proposes an answer to this question that is based on Iris Murdoch’s criticism of the fact/value distinction and Cora Diamond’s concept of reflective empiricism. Second, the discussion takes as a point of departure a study on genome-edited farmed salmon that uses qualitative research interviews and focus groups. Although there are several animal ethics studies based in empirical data, there are few works on the methodological challenges raised by empirical ethics in this area. The article contributes to these discussions by arguing that reflective empiricism can constitute a methodological approach to animal ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Animal and Veterinary Medical Ethics)
Article
FedAAR: A Novel Federated Learning Framework for Animal Activity Recognition with Wearable Sensors
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162142 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Deep learning dominates automated animal activity recognition (AAR) tasks due to high performance on large-scale datasets. However, constructing centralised data across diverse farms raises data privacy issues. Federated learning (FL) provides a distributed learning solution to train a shared model by coordinating multiple [...] Read more.
Deep learning dominates automated animal activity recognition (AAR) tasks due to high performance on large-scale datasets. However, constructing centralised data across diverse farms raises data privacy issues. Federated learning (FL) provides a distributed learning solution to train a shared model by coordinating multiple farms (clients) without sharing their private data, whereas directly applying FL to AAR tasks often faces two challenges: client-drift during local training and local gradient conflicts during global aggregation. In this study, we develop a novel FL framework called FedAAR to achieve AAR with wearable sensors. Specifically, we devise a prototype-guided local update module to alleviate the client-drift issue, which introduces a global prototype as shared knowledge to force clients to learn consistent features. To reduce gradient conflicts between clients, we design a gradient-refinement-based aggregation module to eliminate conflicting components between local gradients during global aggregation, thereby improving agreement between clients. Experiments are conducted on a public dataset to verify FedAAR’s effectiveness, which consists of 87,621 two-second accelerometer and gyroscope data. The results demonstrate that FedAAR outperforms the state-of-the-art, on precision (75.23%), recall (75.17%), F1-score (74.70%), and accuracy (88.88%), respectively. The ablation experiments show FedAAR’s robustness against various factors (i.e., data sizes, communication frequency, and client numbers). Full article
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Article
Maternal Supplementation with Polyphenols and Omega-3 Fatty Acids during Pregnancy: Prenatal Effects on Fetal Fatty Acid Composition in the Iberian Pig
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162140 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) is a major problem in pig production and different strategies, mainly maternal supplementation with different agents, are currently being studied. The combination of hydroxytyrosol and n3-PUFA seems to be a promising treatment to counteract IUGR, since the combination may [...] Read more.
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) is a major problem in pig production and different strategies, mainly maternal supplementation with different agents, are currently being studied. The combination of hydroxytyrosol and n3-PUFA seems to be a promising treatment to counteract IUGR, since the combination may help improve n3-PUFA composition and lower the inflammatory status of IUGR piglets. The aim of the present study is to determine the effects of a maternal supplementation, from day 35 to day 100 of pregnancy, with linseed oil and hydroxytyrosol on the fetal FA composition. The results showed higher n3 levels, including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic FA in the offspring from treated gilts, which showed lower n6-PUFA/n3-PUFA (n6/n3) ratios. Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids were also affected by treatment, especially in the muscle and brain. Thus, a maternal supplementation with linseed oil and hydroxytyrosol affected the fetal FA tissue composition, which could have implications in pig production due to the improvement of the piglets’ health status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monogastric Livestock Nutrition: Improving Muscle Fatty Acids)
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Article
Effect of Different Ambient Temperatures on Reproductive Outcome and Stress Level of Lactating Females in Two Mouse Strains
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162141 - 20 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Ambient temperature is an important non-biotic environmental factor influencing immunological and oncological parameters in laboratory mice. It is under discussion which temperature is more appropriate and whether the commonly used room temperature in rodent facilities of about 21 °C represents a chronic cold [...] Read more.
Ambient temperature is an important non-biotic environmental factor influencing immunological and oncological parameters in laboratory mice. It is under discussion which temperature is more appropriate and whether the commonly used room temperature in rodent facilities of about 21 °C represents a chronic cold stress or the 30 °C of the thermoneutral zone constitutes heat stress for the animals. In this study, we selected the physiological challenging period of lactation to investigate the influence of a cage temperature of 20 °C, 25 °C, and 30 °C, respectively, on reproductive performance and stress hormone levels in two frequently used mouse strains. We found that B6D2F1 hybrid mothers weaned more pups compared to C57BL/6N mothers, and that the number of weaned pups was reduced when mothers of both strains were kept at 30 °C. Furthermore, at 30 °C, mothers and pups showed reduced body weight at weaning and offspring had longer tails. Despite pronounced temperature effects on reproductive parameters, we did not find any temperature effects on adrenocortical activity in breeding and control mice. Independent of the ambient temperature, however, we found that females raising pups showed elevated levels of faecal corticosterone metabolites (FCMs) compared to controls. Peak levels of stress hormone metabolites were measured around birth and during the third week of lactation. Our results provide no evidence of an advantage for keeping lactating mice in ambient temperatures near the thermoneutral zone. In contrast, we found that a 30 °C cage temperature during lactation reduced body mass in females and their offspring and declined female reproductive performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Article
Identification, Superantigen Toxin Gene Profile and Antimicrobial Resistance of Staphylococci Isolated from Polish Primitive Sheep Breeds
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162139 - 20 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The study aimed to analyze staphylococcal microbiota of the nasal cavity of the primitive sheep breeds Polish Świniarka and Wrzosówka kept on the same ecological farm. The research included the identification of staphylococcal species, evaluation of the prevalence of genes encoding enterotoxins, staphylococcal [...] Read more.
The study aimed to analyze staphylococcal microbiota of the nasal cavity of the primitive sheep breeds Polish Świniarka and Wrzosówka kept on the same ecological farm. The research included the identification of staphylococcal species, evaluation of the prevalence of genes encoding enterotoxins, staphylococcal enterotoxin-like proteins, exfoliative toxins, toxic shock syndrome toxin 1, and detection of antimicrobial resistance. From 61 swab samples gathered from Świniarka (33) and Wrzosówka (28) healthy sheep, 127 coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) were isolated. Based on PCR-RFLP analysis of the gap gene using AluI and HpyCH4V enzymes, the isolates were identified as: Staphylococcus xylosus (33.9%), S. equorum (29.1%), S. arlettae (15%), S. warneri (9.4%), S. lentus (7.9%), S. succinus (3.9%) and S. sciuri (0.8%). Three of these species, S. lentus, S. succinus, and S. sciuri, were detected only from the Świniarka breed. It was found that 77.2% of isolates harbored from 1 to 7 out of 21 analyzed genes for superantigenic toxins. The greatest diversity of toxin genes was recorded for S. equorum (16 different genes). The most prevalent gene was ser (40.2%). The incidence and number of resistances to antimicrobials were found to be bacterial species but not sheep breed dependent. The highest percentage of resistance was found for S. sciuri. The most frequent resistance was observed to clindamycin (45.7%). The findings of this study prove that toxigenic and antimicrobial resistant CoNS can colonize the nasal cavity of healthy sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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Article
Effect of Weaning at 21 Days of Age on the Content of Bile Acids in Chyme of Cecum
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162138 - 20 Aug 2022
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Abstract
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of weaning at 21 days of age on cecal chyme bile acids (BAs) in piglets. According to a 2 × 3 factorial design, the main factors were lactation and weaning, and the other factor was [...] Read more.
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of weaning at 21 days of age on cecal chyme bile acids (BAs) in piglets. According to a 2 × 3 factorial design, the main factors were lactation and weaning, and the other factor was 22, 24, and 28 days of age, respectively. Piglets were randomly divided into two groups of eighteen piglets each and six piglets were selected for slaughter at 22, 24, and 28 days of age, respectively, to determine the content of different types of Bas in the intestinal lumen of the cecum. Results: (1) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal primary Bas hyocholic acid (HCA) and chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) (p < 0.05), and weaning significantly increased the content of primary BAs in piglets’ intestines, which showed a trend of decreasing and then increasing with the increase in piglets’ age. (2) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal secondary BAs deoxycholic acid (DCA), lithocholic acid (LCA), and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) (p < 0.05). DCA and LCA in piglets’ intestines tended to decrease with increasing age, while UDCA showed a trend of decreasing and then increasing with increasing piglets’ age; weaning significantly increased the content of secondary BAs in piglets’ intestines. (3) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal glycine chenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA), taurochenodeoxycholic acid (TCDCA), and taurolithocholic acid (TLCA), but not on taurohyocholic acid (THCA), taurohyodeoxycholic acid (THDCA), and taurineursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) (p > 0.05). Weaning significantly increased the contents of GCDCA, TCDCA, TLCA, THDCA, and TUDCA in the intestinal tract (p < 0.05), while THCA content was not significant. In conclusion, weaning can increase the BAs content in the cecum of piglets, and there is an interaction between group and weaning age on BAs content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Weaned Pig: Nutrition and Management)
Article
Dynamics of the Reproductive Changes and Acquisition of Oocyte Competence in Nelore (Bos taurus indicus) Calves during the Early and Intermediate Prepubertal Periods
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162137 - 20 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to characterize the reproductive physiology, oocyte competence, and chromatin compaction in Nelore calves in the early-prepubertal period (EPP) and the intermediate-prepubertal period (IPP). Calves aged 2–5 (EPP) and 8–11 months old (IPP) were assigned to Trial 1 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to characterize the reproductive physiology, oocyte competence, and chromatin compaction in Nelore calves in the early-prepubertal period (EPP) and the intermediate-prepubertal period (IPP). Calves aged 2–5 (EPP) and 8–11 months old (IPP) were assigned to Trial 1 (morpho-physiological–endocrine evaluations, n = 8) or Trial 2 (oocyte donors, n = 8) vs. the respective control groups of cows (n = 8, each). All morphological endpoints, except the antral follicle count, increased from the EPP to the IPP. The EPP LH-FSH plasma concentrations were similar to cows, whereas LH was lower and FSH was higher in the IPP than in cows. . Cows produced more Grade I (12.9% vs. 4.1% and 1.7%) and fewer Grade III COC (30.1% vs. 44.5% and 49.0%) than the EPP and IPP calves, respectively. The IPP calves’ oocyte diameter was similar to those from cows but greater than those from EPP females (124.8 ± 8.5 and 126.0 ± 7.5 μm vs. 121.3 ± 7.5 μm, respectively). The expression of the chromatin compaction-related gene HDAC3 was downregulated in calves. The proportion of the blastocyst rate to the controls was lower in EPP than in IPP calves (43.7% vs. 78.7%, respectively). Progressive oocyte competence was found during the prepubertal period, which can help to decide whether to recover oocytes from calves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Embryo Production in Domestic Animals)
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Article
Evidence-Based Approaches for Determining Effective Target Antigens to Develop Vaccines against Post-Weaning Diarrhea Caused by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in Pigs: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162136 - 19 Aug 2022
Viewed by 643
Abstract
In this study, we conducted a meta-analysis (MA) and systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines against post-weaning diarrhea (PWD), caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), in piglets. A Bayesian network meta-analysis (NMA) was also performed to compare the effects of combining [...] Read more.
In this study, we conducted a meta-analysis (MA) and systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines against post-weaning diarrhea (PWD), caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), in piglets. A Bayesian network meta-analysis (NMA) was also performed to compare the effects of combining different target antigens on vaccine efficacy. Relevant electronic databases were searched using pre-specified search terms, and 17 studies were selected based on three outcomes: diarrhea, mortality, and average daily weight gain (ADWG). In pairwise MA, the vaccinated group showed a significant decrease in diarrhea (OR = 0.124 [0.056, 0.275]) and mortality (OR = 0.273 [0.165, 0.451]), and a significant increase in ADWG (SMD = 0.699 [0.107, 1.290]) compared with those in controls. Furthermore, NMA results showed that all vaccine groups, except for group D (LT enterotoxin), were effective against PWD. Rank probabilities indicated that the F4 + F18 + LT combination was the best regimen for preventing diarrhea (SUCRA score = 0.92) and mortality (SUCRA score = 0.89). NMA also demonstrated that, among the vaccine groups, those inducing simultaneous anti-adhesion and antitoxin immunity had the highest efficacy. Our results provide evidence-based information on the efficacy of vaccines in reducing PWD incidence in pigs and may serve as guidelines for antigen selection for commercial vaccine development in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses)
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Article
MHCII Expression on Peripheral Blood Monocytes in Canine Lymphoma: An Impact of Glucocorticoids
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162135 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
An increase in the percentage of monocytes with reduced HLA-DR expression and immunosuppressive properties has been reported in numerous human neoplastic diseases, including lymphoma. However, there are no analogous studies on phenotypical variations in the peripheral blood monocytes in dogs with lymphoma. The [...] Read more.
An increase in the percentage of monocytes with reduced HLA-DR expression and immunosuppressive properties has been reported in numerous human neoplastic diseases, including lymphoma. However, there are no analogous studies on phenotypical variations in the peripheral blood monocytes in dogs with lymphoma. The aim of this study was to determine the difference in the expression of the MHCII molecule on peripheral blood monocytes in dogs with lymphoma before any treatment (NRG) and in dogs that had previously received glucocorticoids (RG) in comparison to healthy dogs. Flow cytometry immunophenotyping of peripheral blood leukocytes was performed using canine-specific or cross-reactive antibodies against CD11b, CD14 and MHCII. In the blood of dogs with lymphoma (NRG and RG), compared to that of healthy ones, the MHCII+ and MHCII− monocytes ratio was changed due to an increase in the percentage of MHCII− monocytes. The number of MHCII− monocytes was significantly higher only in RG dogs compared to healthy ones, which might result from the release of these cells from the blood marginal pool due to the action of glucocorticoids. Our results encourage further studies to assess if changes in MHCII expression affect immune status in dogs with lymphoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Article
Physiology and Proteomic Basis of Lung Adaptation to High-Altitude Hypoxia in Tibetan Sheep
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162134 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The Tibetan sheep is an indigenous animal of the Tibetan plateau, and after a long period of adaptation have adapted to high-altitude hypoxia. Many physiological changes occur in Tibetan sheep as they adapt to high-altitude hypoxia, especially in the lungs. To reveal the [...] Read more.
The Tibetan sheep is an indigenous animal of the Tibetan plateau, and after a long period of adaptation have adapted to high-altitude hypoxia. Many physiological changes occur in Tibetan sheep as they adapt to high-altitude hypoxia, especially in the lungs. To reveal the physiological changes and their molecular mechanisms in the lungs of Tibetan sheep during adaptation to high altitudes, we selected Tibetan sheep from three altitudes (2500 m, 3500 m, and 4500 m) and measured blood-gas indicators, observed lung structures, and compared lung proteome changes. The results showed that the Tibetan sheep increased their O2-carrying capacity by increasing the hemoglobin (Hb) concentration and Hematocrit (Hct) at an altitude of 3500 m. While at altitude of 4500 m, Tibetan sheep decreased their Hb concentration and Hct to avoid pulmonary hypertension and increased the efficiency of air-blood exchange and O2 transfer by increasing the surface area of gas exchange and half-saturation oxygen partial pressure. Besides these, some important proteins and pathways related to gas transport, oxidative stress, and angiogenesis identified by proteome sequencing further support these physiology findings, including HBB, PRDX2, GPX1, GSTA1, COL14A1, and LTBP4, etc. In conclusion, the lungs of Tibetan sheep are adapted to different altitudes by different strategies; these findings are valuable for understanding the basis of hypoxic adaptation in Tibetan sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
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Article
Linkage Disequilibrium, Haplotype Block Structures, Effective Population Size and Genome-Wide Signatures of Selection of Two Conservation Herds of the South African Nguni Cattle
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162133 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The Nguni cattle of South Africa are a Sanga breed, characterized by many eco-types and research populations that have been established in an effort to conserve the diversity within the breed. The aim of this study was to investigate the overall genetic diversity [...] Read more.
The Nguni cattle of South Africa are a Sanga breed, characterized by many eco-types and research populations that have been established in an effort to conserve the diversity within the breed. The aim of this study was to investigate the overall genetic diversity as well as similarities and differences within and between two conservation herds of the South African Nguni Cattle. Mean LD (r2) estimates were 0.413 ± 0.219 for Bartlow Combine and 0.402 ± 0.209 for Kokstad. Genome-wide average LD (r2) decreased with increasing genetic marker distance for both populations from an average of 0.76 ± 0.28 and 0.77 ± 0.27 at 0–1 kb bin to 0.31 ± 0.13 and 0.32 ± 0.13 at 900–1000 kb bin in Bartlow Combine and Kokstad populations, respectively. Variation in LD levels across autosomes was observed in both populations. The results showed higher levels of LD than previously reported in Nguni field populations and other South African breeds, especially at shorter marker distances of less than 20 kb. A total number of 77,305 and 66,237 haplotype blocks covering a total of 1570.09 Mb (61.99% genome coverage) and 1367.42 Mb (53.96% genome coverage) were detected in Bartlow Combine and Kokstad populations, respectively. A total of 18,449 haploblocks were shared between the two populations while 58,856 and 47,788 haploblocks were unique to Bartlow Combine and Kokstad populations, respectively. Effective population size (Ne) results demonstrated a rapid decrease in Ne across generations for both Bartlow Combine and Kokstad conservation herds. Two complementary methods, integrated haplotype score (iHS) and Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (XP-EHH), were implemented in this study to detect the selection signatures in the two herds. A total of 553 and 166 selected regions were identified in Bartlow Combine and Kokstad populations, respectively. DAVID and GO terms analysis of the regions under selection reported genes/QTLs associated with fertility, carcass weight, coat colour, immune response, and eye area pigmentation. Some genes, such as HCAR1, GNAI1, PIK3R3, WNT3, RAB5A, BOLA-N (Class IB MHC Antigen QA-2-Related), BOLA (Class IB MHC Antigen QA-2-Related), and Rab-8B, etc., were found in regions under selection in this study. Overall, the study implied reduced genetic diversity in the two herds calling for corrective measures to maintain the diversity of the South African Nguni cattle. This study presented a comprehensive analysis of the genomic architecture of South African Nguni cattle populations, providing essential genetic information of utility in the management of conservation flocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics Applied to Conservation of Farm Animal Genetic Diversity)
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Article
BMP6 Promotes the Secretion of 17 Beta-Estradiol and Progesterone in Goat Ovarian Granulosa Cells
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162132 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of BMP6 on the function of goat ovarian granulosa cells (GCs). The results showed that the exogenous addition of BMP6 did not affect the EdU-positive ratio of ovarian GCs and had no significant [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of BMP6 on the function of goat ovarian granulosa cells (GCs). The results showed that the exogenous addition of BMP6 did not affect the EdU-positive ratio of ovarian GCs and had no significant effect on the mRNA and protein expression levels of the proliferation-related gene PCNA (p > 0.05). Meanwhile, BMP6 had no significant effect on the cycle phase distribution of GCs but increased the mRNA expression of CDK4 (p < 0.05) and CCND1 (p < 0.01) and decreased the mRNA expression of CCNE1 (p < 0.01). Moreover, BMP6 had no significant effect on the apoptosis rate of GCs and did not affect the mRNA expression levels of apoptosis-related genes BAX, BCL2, and Caspase3 (p > 0.05). Importantly, BMP6 upregulated the secretion of 17 beta-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) in ovarian GCs (p < 0.01). Further studies found that BMP6 inhibited the mRNA expression of 3β-HSD and steroid synthesis acute regulator (StAR) but significantly promoted the mRNA expression of the E2 synthesis rate-limiting enzyme CYP19A1 and the P4 synthesis rate-limiting enzyme CYP11A1 (p < 0.01). Taken together, these results showed that the exogenous addition of BMP6 did not affect the proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis of goat ovarian GCs but promoted the secretion of E2 and progesterone P4 in ovarian GCs by upregulating the mRNA expressions of CYP19A1 and CYP11A1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Endocrinology in Animal Reproduction)
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Article
Sensitivity and Specificity for the Detection of Clinical Mastitis by Automatic Milking Systems in Bavarian Dairy Herds
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162131 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
In automatic milking systems (AMSs), the detection of clinical mastitis (CM) and the subsequent separation of abnormal milk should be reliably performed by commercial AMSs. Therefore, the objectives of this cross-sectional study were (1) to determine the sensitivity (SN) and specificity (SP) of [...] Read more.
In automatic milking systems (AMSs), the detection of clinical mastitis (CM) and the subsequent separation of abnormal milk should be reliably performed by commercial AMSs. Therefore, the objectives of this cross-sectional study were (1) to determine the sensitivity (SN) and specificity (SP) of CM detection of AMS by the four most common manufacturers in Bavarian dairy farms, and (2) to identify routinely collected cow data (AMS and monthly test day data of the regional Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA)) that could improve the SN and SP of clinical mastitis detection. Bavarian dairy farms with AMS from the manufacturers DeLaval, GEA Farm Technologies, Lely, and Lemmer-Fullwood were recruited with the aim of sampling at least 40 cows with clinical mastitis per AMS manufacturer in addition to clinically healthy ones. During a single farm visit, cow-level milking information was first electronically extracted from each AMS and then all lactating cows examined for their udder health status in the barn. Clinical mastitis was defined as at least the presence of visibly abnormal milk. In addition, available DHIA test results from the previous six months were collected. None of the manufacturers provided a definition for clinical mastitis (i.e., visually abnormal milk), therefore, the SN and SP of AMS warning lists for udder health were assessed for each manufacturer individually, based on the clinical evaluation results. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) with herd as random effect were used to determine the potential influence of routinely recorded parameters on SN and SP. A total of 7411 cows on 114 farms were assessed; of these, 7096 cows could be matched to AMS data and were included in the analysis. The prevalence of clinical mastitis was 3.4% (239 cows). When considering the 95% confidence interval (95% CI), all but one manufacturer achieved the minimum SN limit of >80%: DeLaval (SN: 61.4% (95% CI: 49.0%–72.8%)), GEA (75.9% (62.4%–86.5%)), Lely (78.2% (67.4%–86.8%)), and Lemmer-Fullwood (67.6% (50.2%–82.0%)). However, none of the evaluated AMSs achieved the minimum SP limit of 99%: DeLaval (SP: 89.3% (95% CI: 87.7%–90.7%)), GEA (79.2% (77.1%–81.2%)), Lely (86.2% (84.6%–87.7%)), and Lemmer-Fullwood (92.2% (90.8%–93.5%)). All AMS manufacturers’ robots showed an association of SP with cow classification based on somatic cell count (SCC) measurement from the last two DHIA test results: cows that were above the threshold of 100,000 cells/mL for subclinical mastitis on both test days had lower chances of being classified as healthy by the AMS compared to cows that were below the threshold. In conclusion, the detection of clinical mastitis cases was satisfactory across AMS manufacturers. However, the low SP will lead to unnecessarily discarded milk and increased workload to assess potentially false-positive mastitis cases. Based on the results of our study, farmers must evaluate all available data (test day data, AMS data, and daily assessment of their cows in the barn) to make decisions about individual cows and to ultimately ensure animal welfare, food quality, and the economic viability of their farm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Article
Identification and Characterization of Copy Number Variations Regions in West African Taurine Cattle
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162130 - 19 Aug 2022
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Abstract
A total of 106 West African taurine cattle belonging to the Lagunaire breed of Benin (33), the N’Dama population of Burkina Faso (48), and N’Dama cattle sampled in Congo (25) were analyzed for Copy Number Variations (CNVs) using the BovineHDBeadChip of Illumina and [...] Read more.
A total of 106 West African taurine cattle belonging to the Lagunaire breed of Benin (33), the N’Dama population of Burkina Faso (48), and N’Dama cattle sampled in Congo (25) were analyzed for Copy Number Variations (CNVs) using the BovineHDBeadChip of Illumina and two different CNV calling programs: PennCNV and QuantiSNP. Furthermore, 89 West African zebu samples (Bororo cattle of Mali and Zebu Peul sampled in Benin and Burkina Faso) were used as an outgroup to ensure that analyses reflect the taurine cattle genomic background. Analyses identified 307 taurine-specific CNV regions (CNVRs), covering about 56 Mb on all bovine autosomes. Gene annotation enrichment analysis identified a total of 840 candidate genes on 168 taurine-specific CNVRs. Three different statistically significant functional term annotation clusters (from ACt1 to ACt3) involved in the immune function were identified: ACt1 includes genes encoding lipocalins, proteins involved in the modulation of immune response and allergy; ACt2 includes genes encoding coding B-box-type zinc finger proteins and butyrophilins, involved in innate immune processes; and Act3 includes genes encoding lectin receptors, involved in the inflammatory responses to pathogens and B- and T-cell differentiation. The overlap between taurine-specific CNVRs and QTL regions associated with trypanotolerant response and tick-resistance was relatively low, suggesting that the mechanisms underlying such traits may not be determined by CNV alterations. However, four taurine-specific CNVRs overlapped with QTL regions associated with both traits on BTA23, therefore suggesting that CNV alterations in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes can partially explain the existence of genetic mechanisms shared between trypanotolerance and tick resistance in cattle. This research contributes to the understanding of the genomic features of West African taurine cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Cattle Breeding, Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Effect of an Immunomodulatory Feed Additive in Mitigating the Stress Responses in Lactating Dairy Cows to a High Concentrate Diet Challenge
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162129 - 19 Aug 2022
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Dairy cows are often exposed to multiple stressors in a lactation-cycle, with sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) a frequent example of nutritional stress. SARA affects ruminal and intestinal equilibrium resulting in dysbiosis with localized and systemic inflammation impacting animal health and productivity. OmniGen-AF (OMN, [...] Read more.
Dairy cows are often exposed to multiple stressors in a lactation-cycle, with sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) a frequent example of nutritional stress. SARA affects ruminal and intestinal equilibrium resulting in dysbiosis with localized and systemic inflammation impacting animal health and productivity. OmniGen-AF (OMN, Phibro Animal Health Corporation, Teaneck, NJ, USA) is a feed product recognized for modulating innate immune function, especially during periods of stress. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of OMN in lactating dairy cows fed a high-starch, low-fiber diet. Twenty-four blocked cows were assigned to control or treatment (55 g/d). After the additive adaptation (49 d) cows were fed the challenge diet (28 d). Milk, rumination and pH were continuously recorded; components, rumen fluid, and blood were taken in multiple time-point and analyzed. Results showed that the challenge decreased the rumination, shifted ruminal fluid composition, decreased milk production and the components, and slightly increased the time below pH 5.5, with no differences between groups. The treatment produced greater rumen butyrate and lower lactate, prompter regeneration of red blood cells, increase of neutrophils, lower paraoxonase, gamma-glutamyl-transferase, and β-hydroxybutyrate, with no differences on other tested inflammatory markers. Results show that OMN helps modulating some of the metabolic and immunological responses to SARA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Disorder Diseases of Ruminants)
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