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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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Mean (±s.e.m.) MNTs (N) across 2 days of testing in lambs from CONT, TD and LPS ewes. Day 3 pm testing took place 3 h after lamb tail-docking (and castration (cast) of males).
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RSBL20140273F2: Mean (±s.e.m.) MNTs (N) across 2 days of testing in lambs from CONT, TD and LPS ewes. Day 3 pm testing took place 3 h after lamb tail-docking (and castration (cast) of males).

Mentions: Lamb MNTs across day 2 and 3 post-partum were affected by treatment (F2,27 = 5.487, p = 0.01; figure 2). Lambs from LPS ewes showed significantly higher MNTs than lambs from TD ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.004) and a trend for higher MNTs than lambs from CONT ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.068), while CONT and TD lambs did not differ (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.376). MNTs were not affected by lamb sex or by time of testing (day 2 am/pm, day 3 am/pm) indicating that tail-docking and castration did not markedly alter MNTs. There were no significant interaction effects (p > 0.2).Figure 2.


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)

Mean (±s.e.m.) MNTs (N) across 2 days of testing in lambs from CONT, TD and LPS ewes. Day 3 pm testing took place 3 h after lamb tail-docking (and castration (cast) of males).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

RSBL20140273F2: Mean (±s.e.m.) MNTs (N) across 2 days of testing in lambs from CONT, TD and LPS ewes. Day 3 pm testing took place 3 h after lamb tail-docking (and castration (cast) of males).
Mentions: Lamb MNTs across day 2 and 3 post-partum were affected by treatment (F2,27 = 5.487, p = 0.01; figure 2). Lambs from LPS ewes showed significantly higher MNTs than lambs from TD ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.004) and a trend for higher MNTs than lambs from CONT ewes (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.068), while CONT and TD lambs did not differ (Tukey HSD post hoc, p = 0.376). MNTs were not affected by lamb sex or by time of testing (day 2 am/pm, day 3 am/pm) indicating that tail-docking and castration did not markedly alter MNTs. There were no significant interaction effects (p > 0.2).Figure 2.

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