Hair: a tool to evaluate the HPA axis activity

Peric, Tanja (2014) Hair: a tool to evaluate the HPA axis activity, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze veterinarie, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6253.
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Hair cortisol is a novel marker to measure long-term secretion cortisol free from many methodological caveats associated with other matrices such as plasma, saliva, urine, milk and faeces. For decades hair analysis has been successfully used in forensic science and toxicology to evaluate the exposure to exogenous substances and assess endogenous steroid hormones. Evaluation of cortisol in hair matrix began about a decade ago and have over the past five years had a remarkable development by advancing knowledge and affirming this method as a new and efficient way to study the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity over a long time period. In farm animals, certain environmental or management conditions can potentially activate the HPA axis. Given the importance of cortisol in monitoring the HPA axis activity, a first approach has involved the study on the distribution of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) in healthy dairy cows showing a physiological range of variation of this hormone. Moreover, HCC have been significantly influenced also by changes in environmental conditions and a significant positive correlation was detected between HCC and cows clinically or physiologically compromised suggesting that these cows were subjected to repeated HPA axis activation. Additionally, Crossbreed F1 heifers showed significantly lower HCC compared to pure animals and a breed influence has been seen also on the HPA axis activity stimulated by an environmental change showing thus a higher level of resilience and a better adaptability to the environment of certain genotypes. Hair proved to be an excellent matrix also in the study of the activation of the HPA axis during the perinatal period. The use of hair analysis in research holds great promise to significantly enhance current understanding on the role of HPA axis over a long period of time.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Peric, Tanja
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze veterinarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
hair, cortisol, HPA axis
Data di discussione
11 Giugno 2014

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