Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SAFEGUARDING WELL-BEING OF FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Effect of prenatal stress on subsequent response to mixing stress and a lipopolysaccharide challenge in pigs

Authors
item Lay, Jr, Donald
item Kattesh, H -
item Cunnick, J -
item Daniels, M -
item Kranendonk, G -
item McMunn, Kimberly
item Toscano, Michael
item Roberts, M -

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Citation: Lay Jr, D.C., Kattesh, H.G., Cunnick, J.E., Daniels, M.J., Kranendonk, G., Mcmunn, K.A., Toscano, M.J., Roberts, M.P. 2011. Effect of prenatal stress on pig’s subsequent response to mixing stress and a lipopolysaccharide challenge. Journal of Animal Science. 89(6):1787-1794.

Interpretive Summary: Sows subjected to prenatal stress have been found to produce offspring that alter the manner in which they respond to stress. Our objective was to determine if exposing a sow to stress altered the response of the offspring to a bacterial challenge at 2 months of age or their response to mixing stress at 4 months of age. Sow treatments consisted of injections of a stress hormone (adrenocorticotrophin), exposure to rough handling for a 10-min duration, or no treatment once a week during d 42 to 77 of gestation. At 2 months of age, pigs from each treatment were challenged with bacteria, saline, or acted as non-infected controls. Their behavioral response to a human approach test and stress hormone responses were measured. At 4 months of age, one pig from each treatment was taken from its home pen and placed in a pen of unfamiliar pigs. Each pig received an injection of sheep red blood cells to initiate an antibody response. Behavior was recorded during the first 5 days after mixing. All pigs in the bacterial challenge responded with a characteristic sickness behavior; however pigs from sows that were roughly handled became less sick than pigs from the other two treatments. Pigs from all treatments responded similarly to mixing stress in regards to stress hormone response and their ability to make antibodies. And, all pigs experienced the same amount of aggression in response to mixing. Without altering peripheral measures of stress responsivity, prenatal stress did enhance the central response which could prove to be an adaptation to challenging environments. Our results suggest that although prenatal stress clearly has interesting effects on subsequent offspring, no simple cause and effect relationship exists. Our data, and that of others, indicate that this is not a robust phenomena in swine which is capable of transcending differences in environment, genetics, or quality/severity of stressors which are used in swine research.

Technical Abstract: Sows subjected to prenatal stress have been found to produce offspring that alter the manner in which they respond to stress. Our objective was to determine if exposing a sow to stress altered the response of the offspring to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 2 mo of age or their response to mixing stress at 4 mo of age. Sow treatments consisted of i.v. injections of adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH, 1 IU/kg BW), exposure to rough handling for a 10-min duration (Rough), or no treatment (Control) once a week during d 42 to 77 of gestation. At 2 mo of age, pigs from each treatment (n = 21, 17, 15; ACTH, Rough, or Control respectively) were challenged with 2 ug LPS/kg BW, saline, or acted as a non-injected control. Their behavioral response to a human approach test and salivary cortisol were measured. At 4 mo of age, one pig from each treatment (n = 14, 14, 15; ACTH, Rough, or Control respectively) was taken from its home pen and placed in a pen of unfamiliar pigs. At this time a punch biopsy wound (6 x 6 mm) was created to measure the pig’s ability to heal the wound. At this same time, each pig received a 1-mL, i.m. injection of 20% sheep red blood cells (sRBC), and then a second injection of sRBC at 21 d post-mixing. Blood samples were collected 3 times per wk for 2 wk and then once a week for 4 more weeks. Blood samples were analyzed for cortisol, corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), antibody response to sRBC, and nitric oxide production by macrophages. Behavior was recorded during the first 5 d after mixing. All pigs in the LPS challenge responded with a characteristic sickness behavior, however Rough pigs became less sick than pigs from the other two treatments (P < 0.01). Pigs from all treatments responded similarly to mixing stress in regards to cortisol, CBG, antibody titers, nitric oxide production and hematology measures (P > 0.10). And all pigs experience the same amount of aggression in response to mixing (P > 0.10). Without altering peripheral measures of stress responsivity, prenatal stress did enhance the central response which could prove to be an adaptation to challenging environments.

Last Modified: 9/3/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page