Pikeperch Sander lucioperca is a piscivorous species considered a promising candidate for the diversification of intensive aquaculture. This study aimed to determine the effect of a sustained-release delivery system incorporating mammalian gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (mGnRHa) into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles on the sex steroid levels and aspects of artificial reproduction of pikeperch. Fish were divided into four groups and injected with 20 µg mGnRHa/kg, 5-day release microparticles encapsulated with 5 µg GnRHa/kg BW (PLGA 5), 20 µg GnRHa/kg (PLGA 20), or 1 mL/kg 0.9% NaCl (control). Cumulative percentage ovulation was 100% in the PLGA 5 group, significantly higher than in other tested groups. No differences among groups were observed in latency or fecundity. The level of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) peaked at 40 h post-injection, and was sustained during ovulation, in all treated groups. The 17β-estradiol (E2) concentration increased in the mGnRHa-only group immediately after hormone injection, while both PLGA groups showed a reduction in E2 after injection, continuing to decrease until ovulation. A low dose of mGnRHa in PLGA microparticles significantly improves induction of ovulation and results in acceptable reproductive performance, which may positively affect pikeperch production under controlled conditions.
This study investigated potentially affiliative behaviors in grow-finish pigs, how these behaviors changed over time and their relationship to agonistic behaviors. A total of 257 Yorkshire barrows were observed for agonistic (reciprocal fights, attacks) and affiliative (nosing, play, non-agonistic contact) behaviors after mixing (at 10 weeks of age), and weeks 3, 6, and 9 after mix. The least square means of affiliative behaviors were compared across time points. Relationships among affiliative and agonistic behaviors were assessed using generalized linear mixed models. Non-agonistic contact with conspecifics increased until week 6 then remained stable between weeks 6 and 9. Nosing was highest at mix, then decreased in the following weeks. Play was lowest at mix and highest at week 3. Affiliative behaviors were negatively related with aggression at mix (p < 0.001). Pigs who engaged in play and nosing behaviors were more likely to be involved in agonistic interactions in the weeks after mixing (p < 0.05), while pigs engaging in non-agonistic contact were less likely to be involved in agonistic interactions (p < 0.001). There appear to be relationships between affiliative and agonistic behaviors in pigs, with contact being the most predictive of less aggression. Future studies could focus on promoting positive non-agonistic contact in unfamiliar pigs as a way to mitigate aggressive interactions.
The mammary gland is a complicated organ comprising several types of cells, and it undergoes extensive morphogenetic and metabolic changes during the female reproductive cycle. RNA editing is a posttranscriptional modification event occurring at the RNA nucleotide level, and it drives transcriptomic and proteomic diversities, with potential functional consequences. RNA editing in the mammary gland of yaks, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we used REDItools to identify RNA editing sites in mammary gland tissues in yaks during the lactation period (LP, n = 2) and dry period (DP, n = 3). Totally, 82,872 unique RNA editing sites were identified, most of which were detected in the noncoding regions with a low editing degree. In the coding regions (CDS), we detected 5235 editing sites, among which 1884 caused nonsynonymous amino acid changes. Of these RNA editing sites, 486 were found to generate novel possible miRNA target sites or interfere with the initial miRNA binding sites, indicating that RNA editing was related to gene regulation mediated by miRNA. A total of 14,159 RNA editing sites (involving 3238 common genes) showed a significant differential editing level in the LP when compared with that in the DP through Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference method (p < 0.05). According to the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, genes that showed different RNA editing levels mainly participated in pathways highly related to mammary gland development, including MAPK, PI3K-Akt, FoxO, and GnRH signaling pathways. Collectively, this work demonstrated for the first time the dynamic RNA editome profiles in the mammary gland of yaks and shed more light on the mechanism that regulates lactation together with mammary gland development.
The treatment of chronic congestive heart failure (CHF), secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs, has considerably changed in the last fifty years. An analysis of the literature concerning the therapy of chronic CHF in dogs affected by MMVD is not available, and it is needed. Narrative reviews (NRs) are aimed at identifying and summarizing what has been previously published, avoiding duplications, and seeking new study areas that have not yet been addressed. The most accessible open-access databases, PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar, were chosen, and the searching time frame was set in five decades, from 1970 to 2020. The 384 selected studies were classified into categories depending on the aim of the study, the population target, the pathogenesis of MMVD (natural/induced), and the resulting CHF. Over the years, the types of studies have increased considerably in veterinary medicine. In particular, there have been 43 (24.29%) clinical trials, 41 (23.16%) randomized controlled trials, 10 (5.65%) cross-over trials, 40 (22.60%) reviews, 5 (2.82%) comparative studies, 17 (9.60%) case-control studies, 2 (1.13%) cohort studies, 2 (1.13%) experimental studies, 2 (1.13%) questionnaires, 6 (3.40%) case-reports, 7 (3.95%) retrospective studies, and 2 (1.13%) guidelines. The experimental studies on dogs with an induced form of the disease were less numerous (49–27.68%) than the studies on dogs affected by spontaneous MMVD (128–72.32%). The therapy of chronic CHF in dogs has considerably changed in the last fifty years: in the last century, some of the currently prescribed drugs did not exist yet, while others had different indications.
Tail docking has been used in the pig industry to decrease the occurrence of tail biting behavior. This abnormal behavior has a multifactorial origin since it is a response to simultaneous environmental, nutritional and management changes. Given the calming properties of Passiflora incarnata, we hypothesized that dietary supplementation with the extract in weaned pigs could result in a modification of behavior and physiologic indicators linked to stress. Weaned piglets (n = 120, mean body weight 9.07 ± 2.30 kg) were randomly allocated to one of two dietary treatments: control diet (CON) and CON supplemented with 1 kg/t of P. incarnata (PAS). The trial was 28 days long. The presence of skin lesions was assessed at d-1, d-10, d-19, and d-28, and saliva samples were collected for IgA and cortisol determinations at the same sampling times. Results showed the PAS group was characterized by equal growth performance as the CON group, fewer ear lesions (p < 0.05), less aggressive behavior (p < 0.001), higher enrichment exploration (p < 0.001) and lower cortisol levels (p < 0.01). Time effect was observed for tail lesions (p < 0.001) and behavioral observations (p < 0.001). Additional research is required to determine the effect of P. incarnata extract using a larger number of animals and longer period of supplementation when risks associated with tail biting are uncontrolled.
Myostatin (MSTN) is a major negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass and causes a variety of metabolic changes. However, the effect of MSTN knockout on bile acid metabolism has rarely been reported. In this study, the physiological and biochemical alterations of serum in MSTN+/− and wild type (WT) cattle were investigated. There were no significant changes in liver and kidney biochemical indexes. However, compared with the WT cattle, lactate dehydrogenase, total bile acid (TBA), cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the MSTN+/− cattle were significantly increased, and glucose, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides (TG) were significantly decreased, indicating that MSTN knockout affected glucose and lipid metabolism and total bile acids content. Targeted metabolomic analysis of the bile acids and their derivatives was performed on serum samples and found that bile acids were significantly increased in the MSTN+/− cattle compared with the WT cattle. As the only bile acid synthesis organ in the body, we performed metabolomic analysis on the liver to study the effect of MSTN knockout on hepatic metabolism. Metabolic pathway enrichment analysis of differential metabolites showed significant enrichment of the primary bile acid biosynthesis and bile secretion pathway in the MSTN+/− cattle. Targeted metabolomics data further showed that MSTN knockout significantly increased bile acid content in the liver, which may have resulted from enhanced bile acid synthesis due to the expression of bile acid synthesis genes, cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) and sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1), and upregulation in the liver of the MSTN+/− cattle. These results indicate that MSTN knockout does not adversely affect bovine fitness but regulates bile acid metabolism via enhanced bile acid synthesis. This further suggests a role of MSTN in regulating metabolism.
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed in a preference test room composed of two identical double pen units. One side of the pen unit was permanently illuminated with 600 lux, while the other was darkened to almost 0 lux (~0 lx); by using a passageway, piglets could move between the two sides. The “lying”, “eating” and “activity” behaviours were evaluated during three days in the first, third and fifth experimental week based on video recordings and a 5-min time sampling method. At first, piglets preferred to stay in the 600 lux illuminated compartments. Then, this preference decreased for the “eating” and “activity” behaviours and reversed for the “lying” behaviour, with the darkened compartments being preferred. The results also show that pen soiling was higher under 600 lux, but feed consumption was not affected by the illuminance. Since pigs choose between the two illuminance levels to perform specific behaviours, illuminance could be used to divide the pens into functional areas and, thus, help in meeting pigs’ behavioural needs.
Telomere length has attracted much interest as a topic of study in human reproduction; furthermore, the link between sperm telomere length and fertility outcomes has been investigated in other species. This biomarker, however, has not been much explored in other animals, such as pigs, and whether it is related to sperm quality and fertility outcomes remains unknown. The present work aimed to determine the absolute value of telomere length in pig sperm, as well as its relationship to sperm quality parameters and embryo development. Telomere length was determined through quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (qFISH) in 23 pig sperm samples and data were correlated to quality parameters (motility, morphology, and viability) and in vitro fertilization outcomes. We found that the mean telomere length in pig sperm was 22.1 ± 3.6 kb, which is longer than that previously described in humans. Whilst telomere length was not observed to be correlated to sperm quality variables (p > 0.05), a significant correlation between telomere length and the percentage of morulae 6 days after in vitro fertilization was observed (rs = 0.559; 95%C.I. = (−0.007 to 0.854); p = 0.047). Interestingly, this correlation was not found when percentages of early blastocysts/blastocysts (rs = 0.410; 95%C.I. = (−0.200 to 0.791); p = 0.164) and of hatching/hatched blastocysts (rs = 0.356; 95%C.I. = (− 0.260 to 0.766); p = 0.233) were considered. Through the separation of the samples into two groups by the median value, statistically significant differences between samples with shorter telomeres than the median and samples with longer telomeres than the median were found regarding development to morula (11.5 ± 3.6 vs. 21.8 ± 6.9, respectively) and to early blastocyst/blastocysts (7.6 ± 1.4 vs. 17.9 ± 12.2, respectively) (p < 0.05). In the light of these results, sperm telomere length may be a useful biomarker for embryo development in pigs, as sperm with longer telomeres lead to higher rates of morulae and blastocysts.
Selecting the minimal best subset out of a huge number of factors for influencing the response is a fundamental and very challenging NP-hard problem because the presence of many redundant genes results in over-fitting easily while missing an important gene can more detrimental impact on predictions, and computation is prohibitive for exhaust search. We propose a modified memetic algorithm (MA) based on an improved splicing method to overcome the problems in the traditional genetic algorithm exploitation capability and dimension reduction in the predictor variables. The new algorithm accelerates the search in identifying the minimal best subset of genes by incorporating it into the new local search operator and hence improving the splicing method. The improvement is also due to another two novel aspects: (a) updating subsets of genes iteratively until the no more reduction in the loss function by splicing and increasing the probability of selecting the true subsets of genes; and (b) introducing add and del operators based on backward sacrifice into the splicing method to limit the size of gene subsets. Additionally, according to the experimental results, our proposed optimizer can obtain a better minimal subset of genes with a few iterations, compared with all considered algorithms. Moreover, the mutation operator is replaced by it to enhance exploitation capability and initial individuals are improved by it to enhance efficiency of search. A dataset of the body weight of Hu sheep was used to evaluate the superiority of the modified MA against the genetic algorithm. According to our experimental results, our proposed optimizer can obtain a better minimal subset of genes with a few iterations, compared with all considered algorithms including the most advanced adaptive best-subset selection algorithm.
Five natural historic cheeses of Southern Italy were investigated—Caciocavallo Palermitano (CP), Casizolu del Montiferru (CdM), Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (VVB), Pecorino Siciliano (PS), and Caprino Nicastrese (CN)—which are produced with raw milk and with traditional techniques and tools, from autochthonous breeds reared under an extensive system. The effects of the month of production on gross composition, MUFA, PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, retinol, cholesterol, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC were evaluated. In CP, CLA, TPC, and GHIC were higher in April than in February. CdM showed higher values in terms of fat, saturated fatty acids, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, TEAC, and GHIC in May than in February and September, while low values in terms of protein, moisture, and CLA were found. In VVB, MUFA, PUFA-ω6, and α-tocopherol increased in June compared with April; conversely, protein, FRAP, and TEAC were higher in April. In PS, protein, CLA, PUFA, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, and GHIC increased in May compared with January; on the contrary, moisture, NaCl, and TEAC showed high values in January. CN showed higher values in terms of PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC in April and June compared with January. It is shown that each cheese is unique and closely linked to the production area. Cheeses produced in the spring months showed a high nutritional quality due to the greatest presence of healthy compounds originating from an extensive feeding system.