ISSN / EISSN : 20762615 / 20762615
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,190
Latest articles in this journal
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080526
Abstract:Most human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine trials have lacked efficacy and empirical vaccine lead targets are scarce. Thus far, the only independent correlate of reduced risk of HIV-1 acquisition in humans is elevated levels of V2-specific antibodies identified in the modestly protective RV144 vaccine trial. Ten years after RV144, human and non-human primate vaccine studies have reassessed the potential contribution of V2-specific antibodies to vaccine efficacy. In addition, studies of natural HIV-1 infection in humans have provided insight into the development of V1V2-directed antibody responses and their impact on clinical parameters and disease progression. Functionally diverse anti-V2 monoclonal antibodies were isolated and their structurally distinct V2 epitope regions characterized. After RV144, a plethora of research studies were performed using different model systems, immunogens, protocols, and challenge viruses. These diverse studies failed to provide a clear picture regarding the contribution of V2 antibodies to vaccine efficacy. Here, we summarize the biological functions and clinical findings associated with V2-specific antibodies and discuss their impact on HIV vaccine research.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080519
Abstract:Intrauterine growth-restricted piglets (IUGR) have a lower rectal temperature, whole-blood glucose, and lower glycogen storages at birth than normal piglets, giving them less energy to maintain body temperature and compete at the udder. The present paper investigated the effects of giving an energy supplementation three times after birth on rectal temperature, glucose levels, and growth until weaning in an on-farm trial. Eighty-eight newborn piglets were classified as IUGR (based on head morphology), placed under a heating lamp for one hour and allocated to one of four treatments—warmed water (WATER), glucose injection (GLUC), colostrum bolus (COLOS; porcine colostrum), and colostrum bolus and glucose injection (GLUC + COLOS)—before being placed at a nursing sow. Weight differences were found at day 21, with GLUC and GLUC + COLOS groups being the heaviest. Piglets in GLUC + COLOS had higher glucose levels at t = 3, 6, and 9 h compared to the other treatments (p = 0.027), but from t = 24 h and onwards, no difference was observed. For rectal temperature, no differences were observed. Collectively, these findings suggest that glucose injections at birth (i.e., as an energy source), one hour’s exposure to warmth and the placement of piglets with a nurse sow to reduce competition, enhance the growth of IUGR piglets.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080520
Abstract:Vitronectin plays a role in the blood homeostasis and has been implicated in cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Vitronectin has a potential role affecting the residual feed intake (RFI) or feeding efficiency in swine production. Its variations have not been reported in Chinese swine breeds. In this study, two regions of porcine vitronectin were analyzed using PCR and sequencing. The sequence analysis revealed thirteen nucleotide substitutions in region 1 (exon 2- exon 3) and three nucleotide substitutions in region 2 (exon 5- intron 5), which would result in five amino acid changes (p.Ala52Thr, p.Leu94Pro, p.Leu94Gln, p.Gln94Pro, and p.Glu126Gly). In region 1, c.156C/T, c.281A/T, and c.377A/G were the most common (at a total frequency of 49.3%, 31.3% and 31.9% respectively), whereas c.153C/T and c.180C/G were rare (at a total frequency of 1.39%). In region 2, c.597 + 12A/G was the most common (at a total frequency of 39.6%), followed by c.597 + 15A/G (at a total frequency of 31.3%) and c.459A/G (at a total frequency of 16.0%). There was a difference (p < 0.05) in variant frequencies between Chinese breeds and overseas breeds. These results indicate that the porcine vitronectin gene is polymorphic and suggest further analysis is required to see if the variation detected affects RFI or feed efficiency in swines.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080523
Abstract:Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is currently detected as the main pathogen causing severe diarrhea in pig farms. The phenotypic alterations induced by pathogenic infections are usually tightly linked with marked changes in epigenetic modification and gene expression. We performed global mapping of H3K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and transcriptomic analyses in the jejunum of PEDV-infected and healthy piglets using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and RNA-seq techniques. A total of 1885 H3K4me3 peaks that are associated with 1723 genes were characterized. Moreover, 290 differentially expressed genes were identified, including 104 up-regulated and 186 down-regulated genes. Several antiviral genes including 2’-5’-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 (OAS1), 2’-5’-oligoadenylate synthetase 2 (OAS2), ephrin B2 (EFNB2), and CDC28 protein kinase regulatory subunit 1B (CKS1B) with higher H3K4me3 enrichment and expression levels in PEDV-infected samples suggested the potential roles of H3K4me3 deposition in promoting their expressions. Transcription factor annotation analysis highlighted the potential roles of two transcription factors interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) and Kruppel like factor 4 (KLF4) in modulating the differential expression of genes involved in PEDV infection. The results provided novel insights into PEDV infection from the transcriptomic and epigenetic layers and revealed previously unknown and intriguing elements potentially involved in the host responses.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080521
Abstract:The effects of replacing fish meal (FM) protein with stick water (SW) were investigated during the market stage of sex-reversed Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (18.49 ± 0.31 g initial body weight). The FM protein was replaced with SW for 10% (10SW), 20% (20SW), 30% (30SW) and 50% (50SW) of the FM. The completely randomized design was conducted in outdoor 15 floating baskets (1.5 × 1.5 × 2 m), comprising three replications with 50 fish each, over an 8 month trial. At the end of the experiment, no differences in survival, growth performance or feed utilization were observed across the dietary treatments (p > 0.05). A significant change in lipase-specific activity was caused by the replacement, without changes to trypsin, chymotrypsin or amylase activities. The fish in all dietary groups exhibited normal liver histopathology, but the fish fed a diet containing SW showed higher numbers of cells accumulating lipids as compared to fish fed the baseline 0SW dietary treatment. Hematological parameters were similar across the five dietary groups. Only fish fed the 20SW diet had superior carcass quality compared to the baseline 0SW group, in terms of crude protein and lipids, but lower or higher replacement levels had negative effects on carcass quality. Findings from the current study support the replacement of FM protein with SW at a level of 20% in the diet of sex-reversed Nile tilapia reared to the market stage. Higher replacement levels might be possible with the supplementation of fatty acids.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080525
Abstract:This research aimed at improving the fatty acid (FA) profile of Hermetia illucens larvae (HI) and evaluating the effects of their inclusion in growing broiler quails’ diets on the meat physicochemical quality, including detailed amino acid (AA) and FA profiles, sensory traits, and retail display. HI larvae were reared on two different substrates: layer mash (HI1) and 50:50 layer mash/fish offal (HI2). A total of 300 10-day-old quails were allocated to the three dietary groups (five replicates/each): a soybean meal-based diet was formulated (Control), and two other diets were formulated that included either 10% HI1 or HI2. Quails were fed the experimental diets until slaughter. Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and isoenergetic. Breast meat quality was affected by the dietary treatments, which displayed different proximate compositions and AA and FA profiles. Meat physical quality, sensory profile, and retail display remained unaffected for the most part. Overall, results showed that it is possible to improve the FA profile of the HI-fed quails’ meat and thus lipid quality through substrate modulation of the HI’s diet.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080524
Abstract:Over the last several decades, positive public attitudes towards animal welfare have continued to develop. Consumers’ attitudes towards farm animal welfare indicate increasing concern about animal welfare in food production. Yet, this growing interest in the lives of farm animals does not correspond with a wholesale increase in demand for higher welfare products, providing evidence of the citizen-consumer attitude-behaviour gap (herein referred to as the attitude-behaviour gap). Minimising the attitude–behaviour gap and supporting consumers to make higher animal welfare choices may help producers to enhance the lives of farm animals. However, despite increasing awareness in this area, solutions to resolve this gap often focus on knowledge transfer and do not appear to have had a significant impact. The aim of this article is to review current knowledge around the attitude-behaviour gap, and situate it within the context of the behaviour change wheel; exploring the capabilities, opportunities, and motivations driving, as well as the barriers inhibiting consumers from making higher welfare food choices. Using this framework, the review aims to identify interventions that may boost consumer demand for higher welfare products sold at a premium price and provide suggestions for future research. Further work to increase understanding in this area is then also suggested.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080522
Abstract:Some cues used by humans and animals during human-animal interactions may have significant effects, modulating these interactions (e.g., gaze direction, heart rate). This study aimed to determine whether an animal in human-animal interactions is capable of “perceiving” its human partner’s potential developmental “disabilities”. To test this hypothesis, we studied guinea pigs (GP) behaviours in the presence of 44 6-to-12-year-old children with either typical development (TD children) or with autism spectrum disorders (ASD children). Thus, we recorded the GP behaviours during the entire session (to establish their time budget) and focused in particular on the onset and end of physical interactions. The GP behaviours (e.g., feeding, resting, self-grooming, exploring) were not significantly different between the two groups of children during the whole session. GP behaviours in the presence of children differed slightly when encountering ASD children versus TD children: more positive behaviours toward ASD children at the onset, more feeding and resting in the presence of TD children toward the end of an interaction. TD children showed longer-lasting interactions. One could explain this by GP curiosity toward ASD children behaviours (e.g., no marked behaviours such as attempts to touch), whereas GPs seemed calmer at the end with TD children (i.e., interacting with ASD children may be a little stressful). This partly gave support to our study’s hypothesis. GPs seemed to perceive developmental disabilities during a first encounter with children and to adjust their behaviours to that of children. We discuss the issues of animal training, animals’ well-being and acute stress, whether they are pets or used in animal-assisted interventions. Further studies (on pets or animal-assisted interventions) are warranted.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080516
Abstract:In this study, common cereal grains were partially replaced by former foodstuffs products (FFPs) in post-weaning piglets’ diets, to investigate how these alternative ingredients influence the faecal microbiota in the post-weaning period. Twelve post-weaning piglets were housed for 16 days in individual pens and were then fed two diets: a standard wheat-barley-corn meal diet and a diet containing 30% FFPs, thus partially substituting conventional cereals. The growth performance was monitored and faecal microbiota was characterized by the next generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The results showed no detrimental effects on growth performance when FFPs were used. However, the FFP diet decreased the bacterial richness and evenness in the large intestine, while minor differences were observed in the taxa composition. The core microbiota composition was only slightly affected, and no differences between the two groups in the gut microbiota composition at the phylum level over time were observed. Thus, although these results should be interpreted with caution, as they are case-specific, FFPs can be potentially used as alternative carbohydrate sources in post-weaning piglets, but further investigations are necessary to clarify their impact on gut health when used for a longer period.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9080515
Abstract:Background: Research efforts have focused on the evaluation of the bioactive quality of animal products (milk, cheese, meat, and other by-products) contrasting various feeding strategies coming from different ecological zones. The study aimed to describe the fatty acids (FA), polyphenols (P), bioactive compounds (BC), and antioxidant activity (AA) of goat’s milk. Methods: Dairy goats were fed with five systems: (1) Grazing; (2) conventional diet (CD); (3) CD + 10% of Acacia farnesiana (AF) pods; (4) CD + 20% AF; and (5) CD + 30% AF. The fatty acid profile, health promoting and thrombogenic indexes were calculated. Milk extracts were evaluated by HPLC to determent phenolic compounds (gallic, caffeic, chlorogenic, and ferulic acids, catechin, epicatechin, and quercetin). Antioxidant activity of goat’s milk extract was evaluated using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH•), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays. Results: Conventional diet showed the highest content of polyunsaturated fatty acids while grazing showed the best n-6:n-3 and the linoleic:alpha linolenic acid ratio. Similarly, grazing and AF boosted the polyphenol content. Conclusions: Acacia farnesiana inclusion in the goats’ diets increased the presence of bioactive compounds and the antioxidant activity while diminishing the cholesterol content of goat’s milk.