Turner, A. I. and Tilbrook, A. J. 2006, Stress, cortisol and reproduction in female pigs, in Control of pig reproduction VII : proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Pig Reproduction, Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, England, pp. 191-203.
Control of pig reproduction VII : proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Pig Reproduction
Ashworth, C. J. Kraeling, R. R.
Nottingham University Press
Place of publication
Two key hypotheses emerge in the literature regarding the impact of stress on reproduction in females of any species. First, prolonged stress impairs reproduction in females. Secondly, acute stress impairs reproduction, if it occurs at a critical time during the precisely timed series of endocrine events that induce oestrus and ovulation. We reviewed studies conducted in female pigs to find support or opposition for these hypotheses in female pigs. We also considered the role of cortisol. We found confirmation that prolonged stress or the prolonged elevation of cortisol can impair reproductive processes in female pigs, but also found that there appear to be some female pigs in which reproduction is resistant to such treatments. Reproduction in female pigs appears to be resistant to acute or repeated acute stress or elevation of cortisol, even if these occur during the series of precisely timed endocrine events that induce oestrus and ovulation. Thus, we propose modified versions of the above hypotheses that are specific to female pigs. Furthermore, while cortisol may mediate the effects of prolonged stress on reproduction in female pigs, there is evidence that, in female pigs, ACTH may require the presence of the adrenal glands to impair reproduction rather than having direct effects.