Hormonal parameters in foal hair: from birth to post weaning

Montillo, Marta (2014) Hormonal parameters in foal hair: from birth to post weaning, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze veterinarie, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6254.
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The aim of this study was to investigate cortisol and progesterone (P4) trends in hair from birth up to postweaning in Italian trotter foals. Hair sampling is non-invasive and hair concentrations provide retrospective information of integrated hormone secretion over periods of several months. Samples were collected at birth and at a distance of 30 days, collecting only regrowth hair, up to post weaning. From birth to 3 months, foals cortisol falls from 47.64±5.6 to 4.9±0.68 pg/mg (mean±standard error), due to the interruption of foetal-placental connection and progressive adaptation to extrauterine life. From the third month of life to post weaning concentrations don’t vary significantly, underlining a non-chronic activation of the HPA axis. Hair P4 significantly decreases in the first two samples (from 469.68±72,54 to 184.65±35.42 pg/mg). At 2 (111.78±37.13 pg/mg) and 3 months (35.96±6.33 pg/mg) hair concentrations don’t show significant differences. These concentrations are not due to interactions of the utero-placental tissues with foals, animals are still prepuberal and P4 isn’t produced by adrenals as a result of high stress. We could therefore hypothesize that the source of foal hair P4 could be milk, suckled from mares. The high individual variability in hair at 2 and 3 months is due to a gradual and subjective change in foal diet, from milk to solid food, and to the fact that mares do not allow to suckle. From fourth month to post weaning P4 concentration in hair remains around 37.56±6.45 pg/mg. In conclusion, hair collected at birth, giving information about last period of gestation, could be used along with traditional matrices, to evaluate foals maturity. Hair cortisol could give indications about foals capacity to adapt to extra-uterine life. Finally milk, configuring as a bringer of nutrients and energy and assuming the characteristic of a nutraceutical, could give fundamental information about parental care.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Montillo, Marta
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze veterinarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
foal, horse, hair, cortisol, progesterone
Data di discussione
11 Giugno 2014

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