Effects of divergent selection upon adrenocortical activity on immune traits in pig.

TitleEffects of divergent selection upon adrenocortical activity on immune traits in pig.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHervé, J, Terenina, E, Haurogné, K, Bacou, E, Kulikova, E, Allard, M, Billon, Y, Bach, J-M, Mormède, P, Lieubeau, B
JournalBMC Vet Res
Date Published2019 Mar 04
KeywordsAdrenocorticotropic Hormone, Animals, Blood Cell Count, Female, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Lipopolysaccharides, Pituitary-Adrenal System, Selection, Genetic, Sus scrofa, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha

BACKGROUND: The sustainability of farming and animal welfare requires the reconsideration of current selection schemes. In particular, implementation of new selection criteria related to animal health and welfare should help to produce more robust animals and to reduce anti-microbial use. The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis plays a major role in metabolic regulation and adaptation processes and its activity is strongly influenced by genetic factors. A positive association between HPA axis activity and robustness was recently described. To explore whether selecting pigs upon HPA axis activity could increase their robustness, a divergent selection experiment was carried out in the Large White pig breed. This allowed the generation of low (HPA) and high (HPA) responders to adrenocorticotropic hormone administration.RESULTS: In this study, we compared 23 hematologic and immune parameters of 6-week-old, HPA and HPA piglets and analysed their response to a low dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) two weeks later. At six weeks of age, HPA piglets displayed greater red blood cell and leucocyte number including CD8α γδ cells, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, naive T helper (Th) cells and B lymphocytes as compared to HPA individuals. The ability of blood cells to secrete TNFα in response to LPS ex vivo was higher for HPA pigs. At week eight, the inflammatory response to the LPS in vivo challenge was poorly affected by the HPA axis activity.CONCLUSIONS: Divergent selection upon HPA axis activity modulated hematologic and immune parameters in 6-week-old pigs, which may confer an advantage to HPA pigs at weaning. However, HPA and HPA piglets did not exhibit major differences in the parameters analysed two weeks later, i. e. in 8-week-old pigs. In conclusion, chronic exposure to high cortisol levels in HPA pigs does not negatively impact immunity.

Alternate JournalBMC Vet. Res.
PubMed ID30832653
Grant ListANR-12-ADAP-0008 / / ANR /