Deakin University

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The effect of repeated boar exposure on cortisol secretion and reproduction in gilts

Version 2 2024-06-03, 13:38
Version 1 2016-01-19, 15:14
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 13:38 authored by Anne TurnerAnne Turner, PH Hemsworth, PE Hughes, BJ Canny, AJ Tilbrook
It has been proposed that short-term activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal axis, with a consequent increase in the secretion of cortisol, amy disrupt the endocrine events prior to ovulation and thereby impair reproduction in females. We investigated this concept in gilts in which oestrus was detected by introduction to boars, where intense physical contact is possible, or by applying pressure to the back of gilts (back-pressure test) during fence-line exposure to boars, where intense physical contact is prohibited. We expected that there would be a greater release of cortisol and that reproduction would be inhibited in gilts introduced to boars compared to gilts in which the back-pressure test was used. As expected, introduction of gilts to boars resulted in a significant transient increase in plasma concentrations of cortisol while there was no significant effect of using the back-pressure test on plasma cortisol. Nevertheless, introduction of gilts to boars did not impair reproduction and there was no effect of method of detecting oestrus on duration of oestrus, sexual receptivity, fertility or fecundity. The length of the oestrous cycle was decreased and ovulation rate increased in gilts that were introduced to boars compared to gilts that underwent the back-pressure test, indicating that introduction of gilts to boars may have stimulated these aspects of reproduction. These stimulatory effects may have been due to an increased exposure of gilts to sexual behaviour and stimuli from boars when introduced to boars and/or to stimulatory effects of the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal axis on some aspects of reproduction.



Animal reproduction science






Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article, C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

1998, Elsevier