ISSN / EISSN : 2076-2615 / 2076-2615
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 10,530
Latest articles in this journal
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192613
The assessment of the presence of genotype by environment interaction (GxE) in beef cattle is very important in tropical countries with diverse climatic conditions and production systems. The present study aimed to assess the presence of GxE by using different reaction norm models for eleven traits related to growth, reproduction, and visual score in Nellore cattle. We studied five reaction norm models (RNM), fitting a linear model considering homoscedastic residual variance (RNM_homo), and four models considering heteroskedasticity, being linear (RNM_hete), quadratic (RNM_quad), linear spline (RNM_l-l), and quadratic spline (RNM_q-q). There was the presence of GxE for age at first calving (AFC), scrotal circumference (SC), weaning to yearling weight gain (WYG), and yearling weight (YW). The best models were RNM_l-l for YW and RNM_q-q for AFC, SC, and WYG. The heritability estimates for RNM_l-l ranged from 0.07 to 0.20, 0.42 to 0.61, 0.24 to 0.42, and 0.47 to 0.63 for AFC, SC, WYG, and YW, respectively. The heteroskedasticity in reaction norm models improves the assessment of the presence of GxE for YW, WYG, AFC, and SC. Additionally, the trajectories of reaction norms for these traits seem to be affected by a non-linear component, and selecting robust animals for these traits is an alternative to increase production and reduce environmental sensitivity.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192615
The evolution of scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience, together with the growing concerns of consumers regarding current production models, has brought with it the responsibility of reviewing many practices carried out in industrial swine farming, with the purpose of improving the life quality of animals throughout the entire production cycle. In this sense, many initiatives have been taken by European Union, OIE and other countries to abolish questionable practices from an animal welfare point of view, being signed through legislation or normative instructions, which guide governments and companies on the best practices to be adopted. Among the main changes that have taken place in swine farming are the ban or reduction in the use of cages for sows, restrictions on the age at weaning, ban on painful procedures such as surgical castration, tail and teeth clipping, as routine procedures or without the use of anesthesia/analgesia. In addition, these acts also prescribe practices that must be adopted in order to respect the natural behavior of animals, such as the use of environmental enrichment. This review aims to address the main advances made over the last few years in the protection of swine, as well as Brazilian initiatives in this regard.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192617
Nematode burdens and variation in morphological characteristics were assessed in eighty-eight animals from three host species (Apodemus sylvaticus, Apodemus flavicollis, and Myodes glareolus) from eight localities in Serbia. In total, 15 species of nematodes were identified, and the overall mean parasite species richness (IndPSR) was 1.61 per animal (1.98 in A. flavicollis, 1.43 in M. glareolus, and 0.83 in A. sylvaticus). Furthermore, the studied host species significantly differed in individual parasite load (IndPL) and in the following morphological characters: spleen mass, body condition index (BCI), and body mass. We aimed to analyze the relationship between the burden of intestinal nematodes, on one hand, and the body conditions of the host and its capability to develop immune defends on the other. Spleen mass was considered as a measure of immune response. In all host species, larger animals with a better condition (higher BCI) were infected with more parasites species (IndPSR), while parasite load was not related to BCI. Only in A. flavicollis were males significantly larger, but females of the same sizes were infected with more parasite species. This female-biased parasitism is contrary to the theoretical expectation that males should be more parasitized, being larger, more active, with a wider home range. Although the spleen size was significantly correlated with body condition and body mass, IndPSR was not related to spleen mass in any studied species, but in M. galareolus, we found that a smaller spleen was related to higher infection intensity (IndPL).
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192620
Information on the habitat use of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) along the coast of Albania (Adriatic and Ionian Sea) has so far been limited to vague and generalised data. A survey conducted in the National Marine Park Karaburun-Sazan in the summer of 2019 identified two marine caves with morphological characteristics best suited for use by such species. The two caves were subsequently equipped with infrared camera traps in 2020. The recovery of a scat in one of the caves during the 2019 survey and the photographic material obtained confirmed the use of the cave. This research provides the first documentation of marine cave habitat use by the Mediterranean monk seal in Albania. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of specimens frequenting the area could not be performed due to the limited data obtained on seal presence along the Albanian coasts. Nevertheless, the retrieved information is relevant for Albania and for the species conservation. The collected scat was analysed for trophic and anthropogenic contamination data. Three species (gilthead sea bream, European sea bass, and garfish), as well as four anthropogenic items (including a piece of nylon net), were identified. The inferences resulting from the analyses of the data presented in this study provided additional information on the ecology of the species and its conservation priorities, which need to be contextualized at the Adriatic–Ionian regional scale.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192619
Injuries to canine athletes are becoming more and more frequent, and perfect knowledge of all injury-prone anatomic structures is mandatory to achieve correct diagnoses and treatments. In this small case series discussion, trauma-based injury to the common digital extensor tendon of digits III and IV of the forelimb is described for the first time. The anatomy as well as the clinical and ultrasonographic findings show similarities to the human spectrum of pathologies called boxer’s knuckle. The treatment options with a buddy taping technique led to a satisfactory outcome at three months from trauma, without a history of re-injury. Injuries to the extensor compartment of the forepaw should be considered in cases of forelimb lameness with dorsal metacarpophalangeal swelling in sporting patients, especially with a history of blunt force traumas.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192610
Currently, cage housing is regarded as a global mainstream production system for laying hens. However, limited living space and confinement of birds in cages cause welfare and health problems, such as feather pecking, osteoporosis, obesity, and premature aging. Many studies have been conducted to alleviate layer welfare problems by providing farm environmental enrichments such as litter, sand, alfalfa bales, chick papers, pecking stones, pecking strings, perches, slopes, elevated platforms, aviaries and outdoor access with a trend towards complex enrichments. The provision of appropriate enrichments continuously attracts layers towards pecking, foraging, dust bathing, and locomotion, thereby giving lifelong benefits to laying hens. Hence, raising chicks and pullets under such conditions may reduce feather and skin damage, as well as accumulation of abdominal fat, and improve several biological features such as health, productivity, quality products, and docility of laying hens. Therefore, providing enrichment during the first few days of the layer’s life without any interruption is crucial. In addition, due to different farm conditions, environmental enrichment should be managed by well-trained farm staff. For example, in preventing feather pecking among the birds, litter materials for foraging are superior to dust bath materials or new items. However, a limited supply of litter creates competition and challenges among birds. Therefore, providing farm environmental enrichment for layers requires proper handling, especially in commercial layer farms. Hence, improving the welfare of chicks and pullets through optimizing on-farm environmental enrichments is essential for production systems practicing cage housing.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192612
Pseudacanthicus is a genus of Neotropical fish with eight valid species, in addition to numerous lineages not formally identified. It occurs along the Amazon and Tocantins River basins, in Suriname and in the Guiana shield. There are no karyotypic data in the literature for species of this genus. Here, the karyotypes of three Pseudacanthicus species (P. spinosus, P. leopardus and Pseudacanthicus sp.) were comparatively analyzed by classical cytogenetics and fluorescence in situ hybridization using 18S and 5S rDNA probes, U2 snDNA and telomeric sequences. The analyzed species presented 52 chromosomes and KF = 18 m + 34 sm. Constitutive heterochromatin occurred in blocks on a few chromosomes. The 18S rDNA occurred in a single pair; interestingly, P. leopardus presented only one locus of this sequence in its diploid genome. The 5S rDNA sequence occurred in only one pair in P. leopardus, and in multiple sites in Pseudacanthicus sp. and P. spinosus. The snDNA U2 occurred in only one pair in all analyzed species. Telomeric sequences did not show interstitial sites. Although Pseudacanthicus species share the same 2n and KF, repetitive sequence analysis revealed karyotypic diversity among these species. The occurrence of DNA double-strand breaks related to fragile sites, unequal crossing over and transpositions is proposed as the mechanism of karyotypic diversification, suggesting that the conservation of the karyotypic macrostructure is only apparent in this group of fish.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192611
Takifugu obscurus has relatively small gills and gill pores. Consequently, a relatively low respiratory capacity. This fish is thus easily negatively affected by the low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) that are common in high-intensity aquaculture. In order to clarify the mechanisms underlying the hypoxia response of T. obscurus, we used liquid mass spectrometry (LC–MS) to identify and quantify the metabolites present in the T. obscurus gill under the following conditions: normoxia (DO, 7.0 ± 0.2 mg/L), hypoxia (DO, 0.9 ± 0.2 mg/L), and reoxygenation (4, 12, and 24 h after return to normoxia conditions). We identified a total of 821 and 383 metabolites in the gill in positive and negative ion modes, respectively. Of the metabolites identified in positive ion mode, 136 were differentially abundant between hypoxia and all other conditions; of the metabolites identified in negative ion mode, 34 were differentially abundant between hypoxia and all other conditions. The metabolites which were differentially abundant under hypoxia primarily included glycerol phospholipids, fatty acids, hormones, and amino acids as well as related compounds. The pathways which were significantly enriched in the differentially abundant metabolites included the lipid metabolism, amino acid metabolism, purine metabolism, FoxO signaling pathway, and mTOR signaling pathway. Our results help to clarify the mechanisms underlying hypoxia tolerance and to identify hypoxia-related metabolites, as well as to highlight potential research targets for the development of hypoxic-tolerant strains in the future.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192614
This study aimed to evaluate embryonic development; analyze the glucose, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) concentrations in the blood of embryos and goslings; and assess the structure and temperature (EST) of the eggshell. The eggs that were analyzed were from four laying seasons of White Kołuda® geese at three periods (90 eggs × 4 groups × 3 periods). The different embryo proportions, fetal membranes in the egg, and sizes of internal organs indicate a different growth rate and degree of embryo development depending on the laying age and laying period. The goose age influenced the hormone concentrations in the embryos’ blood on the 28th day of incubation, which supports a relationship between the females’ age and development. The eggshell thickness and density change depending on the laying age and the laying period. A decrease in eggshell thickness in the eggs up to the third season was found after the 16th day of incubation (simultaneously, the density showed an increasing trend). A lower EST distinguished the eggs from the oldest geese in the first half of the hatch. The formation of the chorioallantois membrane was associated with an increase in EST in the oldest geese.
Animals, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192616
Acetate is a precursor substance for fatty acid synthesis in bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMECs), and the mTOR signaling pathway plays an important role in milk fat synthesis. However, the mechanism of the regulatory effects of acetate on lipogenic genes via the mTOR signaling pathway in BMEC remains unknown. We hypothesized that acetate can enhance the expression of lipogenic genes and triglyceride (TG) production by activating the mTOR signaling pathway in BMECs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the network of acetate-regulated lipid metabolism by the mTOR signaling pathway in BMECs. These results showed that TG synthesis was elevated (p < 0.01) in BMECs with acetate treatment. The lipid droplets were increased in the acetate-treated groups compared with those in the control group through the Bodipy staining of the lipids. In addition, the fatty acid profile in BMECs treated with acetate was affected, with an elevation in the proportions of C14:0, C16:0, and C18:0. The mRNA levels of the sterol-response-element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1), stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), and fatty acid synthase (FAS) genes involved in the lipogenesis and transcriptional factors were upregulated (p < 0.05) in BMECs with acetate treatment. Remarkably, the expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase α (ACCα) and FAS rate-limiting enzymes involved in lipogenesis was upregulated in BMECs with acetate treatment. Moreover, the addition of acetate enhanced the key protein expression of S6K1, which is related to the mTOR signaling pathway. Taken together, our data suggest that TG accumulation and expression of lipogenic genes induced by acetate are associated with the activation of the mTOR signaling pathway, which provides new insights into the understanding of the molecular mechanism in the expression of mTOR-signaling-pathway-regulated lipogenic genes.