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Long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on sheep behaviour.

Clark C, Murrell J, Fernyhough M, O'Rourke T, Mendl M - Biol. Lett. (2014)

Bottom Line: Early life experiences can have profound long-term, and sometimes transgenerational, effects on individual phenotypes.LPS-treated ewes also gave birth to lambs who showed decreased pain sensitivity in standardized tests during days 2–3 of life.Our results demonstrate long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on pain responses in a commercially important species and suggest that variations in early life management can have important implications for animal health and welfare.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT
Early life experiences can have profound long-term, and sometimes transgenerational, effects on individual phenotypes. However, there is a relative paucity of knowledge about effects on pain sensitivity, even though these may impact on an individual's health and welfare, particularly in farm animals exposed to painful husbandry procedures. Here, we tested in sheep whether neonatal painful and non-painful challenges can alter pain sensitivity in adult life, and also in the next generation. Ewes exposed to tail-docking or a simulated mild infection (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) on days 3–4 of life showed higher levels of pain-related behaviour when giving birth as adults compared with control animals. LPS-treated ewes also gave birth to lambs who showed decreased pain sensitivity in standardized tests during days 2–3 of life. Our results demonstrate long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on pain responses in a commercially important species and suggest that variations in early life management can have important implications for animal health and welfare.

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(a) Boxplot (median, inter-quartile range and range) of number of ewe posture changes during 2 h prior to parturition, (b) mean (±s.e.m.) number of contractions during 2 h prior to parturition and (c) boxplot of interval(s) between birth of first and second lamb, for ewes from the CONT, LPS and TD treatment groups. Post hoc test significant differences: *p ≤ 0.10; **p ≤ 0.05; ***p ≤ 0.01. (Online version in colour.)
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RSBL20140273F1: (a) Boxplot (median, inter-quartile range and range) of number of ewe posture changes during 2 h prior to parturition, (b) mean (±s.e.m.) number of contractions during 2 h prior to parturition and (c) boxplot of interval(s) between birth of first and second lamb, for ewes from the CONT, LPS and TD treatment groups. Post hoc test significant differences: *p ≤ 0.10; **p ≤ 0.05; ***p ≤ 0.01. (Online version in colour.)

Mentions: The number of postural changes observed during the 2 h prior to parturition differed between treatments (Kruskal–Wallis χ2 = 6.458, n = 20, d.f. = 2, p = 0.04; figure 1a). CONT ewes made fewer postural changes than LPS (U = 39, n = 13, p = 0.01) and TD (U = 38, n = 14, p = 0.085) ewes, while TD and LPS ewes did not differ. The number of contractions observed also differed between treatments (F2,17 = 7.297, p = 0.005; figure 1b). CONT ewes exhibited significantly fewer contractions than both LPS ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.045) and TD ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.005), while TD and LPS ewes did not differ. There was a non-significant tendency for treatment to affect tail-wagging frequency (Kruskal–Wallis χ2 = 5.43, n = 20, d.f. = 2, p = 0.066), with tail-wagging being higher in TD ewes (median = 9; U = 41, n = 14, p = 0.034) than in CONT ewes (median = 3), and tending to be higher in LPS ewes (median = 7; U = 33.5, n = 13, p = 0.072) than CONT ewes. No treatment effects were detected for other behavioural categories (see the electronic supplementary material).Figure 1.


Long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on sheep behaviour.

Clark C, Murrell J, Fernyhough M, O'Rourke T, Mendl M - Biol. Lett. (2014)

(a) Boxplot (median, inter-quartile range and range) of number of ewe posture changes during 2 h prior to parturition, (b) mean (±s.e.m.) number of contractions during 2 h prior to parturition and (c) boxplot of interval(s) between birth of first and second lamb, for ewes from the CONT, LPS and TD treatment groups. Post hoc test significant differences: *p ≤ 0.10; **p ≤ 0.05; ***p ≤ 0.01. (Online version in colour.)
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4126620&req=5

RSBL20140273F1: (a) Boxplot (median, inter-quartile range and range) of number of ewe posture changes during 2 h prior to parturition, (b) mean (±s.e.m.) number of contractions during 2 h prior to parturition and (c) boxplot of interval(s) between birth of first and second lamb, for ewes from the CONT, LPS and TD treatment groups. Post hoc test significant differences: *p ≤ 0.10; **p ≤ 0.05; ***p ≤ 0.01. (Online version in colour.)
Mentions: The number of postural changes observed during the 2 h prior to parturition differed between treatments (Kruskal–Wallis χ2 = 6.458, n = 20, d.f. = 2, p = 0.04; figure 1a). CONT ewes made fewer postural changes than LPS (U = 39, n = 13, p = 0.01) and TD (U = 38, n = 14, p = 0.085) ewes, while TD and LPS ewes did not differ. The number of contractions observed also differed between treatments (F2,17 = 7.297, p = 0.005; figure 1b). CONT ewes exhibited significantly fewer contractions than both LPS ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.045) and TD ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.005), while TD and LPS ewes did not differ. There was a non-significant tendency for treatment to affect tail-wagging frequency (Kruskal–Wallis χ2 = 5.43, n = 20, d.f. = 2, p = 0.066), with tail-wagging being higher in TD ewes (median = 9; U = 41, n = 14, p = 0.034) than in CONT ewes (median = 3), and tending to be higher in LPS ewes (median = 7; U = 33.5, n = 13, p = 0.072) than CONT ewes. No treatment effects were detected for other behavioural categories (see the electronic supplementary material).Figure 1.

Bottom Line: Early life experiences can have profound long-term, and sometimes transgenerational, effects on individual phenotypes.LPS-treated ewes also gave birth to lambs who showed decreased pain sensitivity in standardized tests during days 2–3 of life.Our results demonstrate long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on pain responses in a commercially important species and suggest that variations in early life management can have important implications for animal health and welfare.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT
Early life experiences can have profound long-term, and sometimes transgenerational, effects on individual phenotypes. However, there is a relative paucity of knowledge about effects on pain sensitivity, even though these may impact on an individual's health and welfare, particularly in farm animals exposed to painful husbandry procedures. Here, we tested in sheep whether neonatal painful and non-painful challenges can alter pain sensitivity in adult life, and also in the next generation. Ewes exposed to tail-docking or a simulated mild infection (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) on days 3–4 of life showed higher levels of pain-related behaviour when giving birth as adults compared with control animals. LPS-treated ewes also gave birth to lambs who showed decreased pain sensitivity in standardized tests during days 2–3 of life. Our results demonstrate long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on pain responses in a commercially important species and suggest that variations in early life management can have important implications for animal health and welfare.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus