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Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows.

Grün V, Schmucker S, Schalk C, Flauger B, Weiler U, Stefanski V - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013.We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8⁺ gd-T cells.Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Behavioral Physiology of Farm Animals, Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Breeding, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 17, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany. gruen@uni-hohenheim.de.

ABSTRACT
In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe consequences for the animal's health, performance, and welfare. This study assessed measures of blood celluar immunity with special emphasis on T cells in pregnant German Landrace sows either housed in individual crates or in a social group. Blood samples were taken at four samplings pre partum to evaluate numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine-producing T cells. Plasma cortisol concentrations were evaluated as an indicator of stress. We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8⁺ gd-T cells. Individually housed sows showed higher cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01), whereas lymphocyte functionality did not differ between sows of both housing systems. Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed. We favor the hypothesis that differences in the stressfulness of the environment contributed to the effects, with crate-housing being a more stressful environment-at least under conditions of this study.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean (±SEM) numbers of T cell subpopulations in group-housed sows (GP, black bars) and sows kept in individual crates (CR, grey bars) 7, 6, 4, and 2 weeks pre partum. Total TH cells (a) were significantly affected by the housing system 6, and 2 weeks pre partum. This effect was mainly due to higher numbers of naive TH cells (b) in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum, whereas the number of CD8+ TH cells (c) was not influenced by the housing system. Cytotoxic T cells (d) were significantly higher at all stages of gestation in GP-housed sows compared to CR-housed sows. In γδ-T cells CD8− γδ-T cells (e) were not influenced, whereas CD8+ γδ-T cells (f) were significantly higher in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum. Tendential differences were also detected 4 weeks pre partum for the number of total TH cells and naive TH cells, both of them being higher in GP-housed sows. Tendencies are stated as tp < 0.1; Asterisks indicate significant differences between the housing systems at the respective stage of gestation: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; (CR: n = 10; GP: n = 18 except at 7 weeks pre partum: GP: n = 17).
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animals-03-01123-f003: Mean (±SEM) numbers of T cell subpopulations in group-housed sows (GP, black bars) and sows kept in individual crates (CR, grey bars) 7, 6, 4, and 2 weeks pre partum. Total TH cells (a) were significantly affected by the housing system 6, and 2 weeks pre partum. This effect was mainly due to higher numbers of naive TH cells (b) in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum, whereas the number of CD8+ TH cells (c) was not influenced by the housing system. Cytotoxic T cells (d) were significantly higher at all stages of gestation in GP-housed sows compared to CR-housed sows. In γδ-T cells CD8− γδ-T cells (e) were not influenced, whereas CD8+ γδ-T cells (f) were significantly higher in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum. Tendential differences were also detected 4 weeks pre partum for the number of total TH cells and naive TH cells, both of them being higher in GP-housed sows. Tendencies are stated as tp < 0.1; Asterisks indicate significant differences between the housing systems at the respective stage of gestation: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; (CR: n = 10; GP: n = 18 except at 7 weeks pre partum: GP: n = 17).

Mentions: In the following text, the main effects of housing and gestational stage on leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets are shown. Statistical details for housing comparisons at certain gestational stages are reported in the respective figure legends. Group-housed sows showed higher numbers of WBC (F(1,29.14) = 4.71, p < 0.05) than individually housed sows (Figure 1a). These differences were due to higher lymphocyte numbers (F(1,33.54) = 8.51, p < 0.01, Figure 1b) as numbers of granulocytes, monocytes, and DC did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 1c–e). Subsequent analyses of lymphocyte subsets revealed that the effect in lymphocytes was caused by higher numbers of T cells (F(1,34.17) = 12.34, p < 0.01) in group-housed sows, whereas B cell and NK cell numbers did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 2a–c). Detailed analyses of T cell subsets indicated that TH cells (F(1,31.68) = 9.91, p < 0.01, Figure 3a), CTL (F(1,31.88) = 17.14; p < 0.001, Figure 3d), and CD8+ γδ-T cells (F(1,30.05) = 2.92, p = 0.098, Figure 3f) were higher in sows housed in the social group, whereas CD8−γδ-T cells did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 3e). The effect on TH cells was mainly based on differences in naive TH cells (F(1,27.71) = 3.86, p = 0.06, Figure 3b), whereas CD8+ TH cells were not affected (Figure 3c). The different effect on T cell subsets in both housing systems resulted in an altered TH:CTL ratio, which was higher in individually housed sows (F(1,27.44) = 4.25; p < 0.05). The effect, however, did not reach level of significance when calculated for each week separately (p < 0.1 at 7, 6 and 4 weeks pre partum). The ratios of granulocytes:lymphocytes and γδ:αβ T cells were not influenced by the housing system [39].


Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows.

Grün V, Schmucker S, Schalk C, Flauger B, Weiler U, Stefanski V - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Mean (±SEM) numbers of T cell subpopulations in group-housed sows (GP, black bars) and sows kept in individual crates (CR, grey bars) 7, 6, 4, and 2 weeks pre partum. Total TH cells (a) were significantly affected by the housing system 6, and 2 weeks pre partum. This effect was mainly due to higher numbers of naive TH cells (b) in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum, whereas the number of CD8+ TH cells (c) was not influenced by the housing system. Cytotoxic T cells (d) were significantly higher at all stages of gestation in GP-housed sows compared to CR-housed sows. In γδ-T cells CD8− γδ-T cells (e) were not influenced, whereas CD8+ γδ-T cells (f) were significantly higher in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum. Tendential differences were also detected 4 weeks pre partum for the number of total TH cells and naive TH cells, both of them being higher in GP-housed sows. Tendencies are stated as tp < 0.1; Asterisks indicate significant differences between the housing systems at the respective stage of gestation: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; (CR: n = 10; GP: n = 18 except at 7 weeks pre partum: GP: n = 17).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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animals-03-01123-f003: Mean (±SEM) numbers of T cell subpopulations in group-housed sows (GP, black bars) and sows kept in individual crates (CR, grey bars) 7, 6, 4, and 2 weeks pre partum. Total TH cells (a) were significantly affected by the housing system 6, and 2 weeks pre partum. This effect was mainly due to higher numbers of naive TH cells (b) in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum, whereas the number of CD8+ TH cells (c) was not influenced by the housing system. Cytotoxic T cells (d) were significantly higher at all stages of gestation in GP-housed sows compared to CR-housed sows. In γδ-T cells CD8− γδ-T cells (e) were not influenced, whereas CD8+ γδ-T cells (f) were significantly higher in GP-housed sows 2 weeks pre partum. Tendential differences were also detected 4 weeks pre partum for the number of total TH cells and naive TH cells, both of them being higher in GP-housed sows. Tendencies are stated as tp < 0.1; Asterisks indicate significant differences between the housing systems at the respective stage of gestation: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; (CR: n = 10; GP: n = 18 except at 7 weeks pre partum: GP: n = 17).
Mentions: In the following text, the main effects of housing and gestational stage on leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets are shown. Statistical details for housing comparisons at certain gestational stages are reported in the respective figure legends. Group-housed sows showed higher numbers of WBC (F(1,29.14) = 4.71, p < 0.05) than individually housed sows (Figure 1a). These differences were due to higher lymphocyte numbers (F(1,33.54) = 8.51, p < 0.01, Figure 1b) as numbers of granulocytes, monocytes, and DC did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 1c–e). Subsequent analyses of lymphocyte subsets revealed that the effect in lymphocytes was caused by higher numbers of T cells (F(1,34.17) = 12.34, p < 0.01) in group-housed sows, whereas B cell and NK cell numbers did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 2a–c). Detailed analyses of T cell subsets indicated that TH cells (F(1,31.68) = 9.91, p < 0.01, Figure 3a), CTL (F(1,31.88) = 17.14; p < 0.001, Figure 3d), and CD8+ γδ-T cells (F(1,30.05) = 2.92, p = 0.098, Figure 3f) were higher in sows housed in the social group, whereas CD8−γδ-T cells did not differ between the housing systems (Figure 3e). The effect on TH cells was mainly based on differences in naive TH cells (F(1,27.71) = 3.86, p = 0.06, Figure 3b), whereas CD8+ TH cells were not affected (Figure 3c). The different effect on T cell subsets in both housing systems resulted in an altered TH:CTL ratio, which was higher in individually housed sows (F(1,27.44) = 4.25; p < 0.05). The effect, however, did not reach level of significance when calculated for each week separately (p < 0.1 at 7, 6 and 4 weeks pre partum). The ratios of granulocytes:lymphocytes and γδ:αβ T cells were not influenced by the housing system [39].

Bottom Line: In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013.We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8⁺ gd-T cells.Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Behavioral Physiology of Farm Animals, Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Breeding, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 17, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany. gruen@uni-hohenheim.de.

ABSTRACT
In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe consequences for the animal's health, performance, and welfare. This study assessed measures of blood celluar immunity with special emphasis on T cells in pregnant German Landrace sows either housed in individual crates or in a social group. Blood samples were taken at four samplings pre partum to evaluate numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine-producing T cells. Plasma cortisol concentrations were evaluated as an indicator of stress. We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8⁺ gd-T cells. Individually housed sows showed higher cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01), whereas lymphocyte functionality did not differ between sows of both housing systems. Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed. We favor the hypothesis that differences in the stressfulness of the environment contributed to the effects, with crate-housing being a more stressful environment-at least under conditions of this study.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus