Exploratory study of the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal energy supplementation of low birth-weight piglets on their post-weaning cognitive abilities

OS Schmitt*, Keelin O'Driscoll, EM Baxter

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The present study investigated the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR, score 0–3; i.e., “normal” to “severe”) level at birth, and the effects of neonatal energy supplementation (dosed with 2 ml of coconut oil, commercial product or water, or sham-dosed), on post-weaning cognitive abilities of low birth-weight piglets (< 1.1 kg). In total, 184 piglets were recruited at weaning (27 ± 0.1 days) for habituation to the test procedures, and were either tested for spatial learning and memory in a T-maze (n = 42; 37 ± 0.5 days) or for short-term memory in a spontaneous object recognition task (SORT; n = 47; 41 ± 0.3 days). Neonatal supplementation did not affect performances of pigs in the T-maze task or SORT. IUGR3 pigs tended to be faster to enter the reward arm and to obtain the reward in the reversal step of the T-Maze task, suggesting a better learning flexibility, compared to IUGR1 (entry t72.8=2.9, P = 0.024; reward t80 = 3.28, P = 0.008) and IUGR2 (entry t70.3=2.5, P = 0.068; reward t73.9 = 2.77, P = 0.034) pigs. However, a higher percentage of IUGR1 pigs tended to approach the novel object first (DSCF-value = 3.07; P = 0.076) and to interact with it more (t40 = 2.19, P = 0.085), relative to IGUR3 pigs. IUGR1 pigs showed a strong preference for the novel object, as they had a greater percentage time difference interacting with the objects when the novel object was presented (t81 = − 3.41, P = 0.013). In conclusion, some low birth-weight piglets are able to perform a spatial task and an object recognition test, but performances in these tests may be modulated by IUGR level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-385
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 May 2019

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Aptitude
Low Birth Weight Infant
Weaning
Swine
Reward
Growth
Fetal Growth Retardation
Short-Term Memory
Learning
Parturition
Water

Keywords

  • Pigs
  • Habituation
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • IUGR
  • Energy supplementation

Cite this

@article{80908c81facb42fab28b5a090626eafc,
title = "Exploratory study of the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal energy supplementation of low birth-weight piglets on their post-weaning cognitive abilities",
abstract = "The present study investigated the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR, score 0–3; i.e., “normal” to “severe”) level at birth, and the effects of neonatal energy supplementation (dosed with 2 ml of coconut oil, commercial product or water, or sham-dosed), on post-weaning cognitive abilities of low birth-weight piglets (< 1.1 kg). In total, 184 piglets were recruited at weaning (27 ± 0.1 days) for habituation to the test procedures, and were either tested for spatial learning and memory in a T-maze (n = 42; 37 ± 0.5 days) or for short-term memory in a spontaneous object recognition task (SORT; n = 47; 41 ± 0.3 days). Neonatal supplementation did not affect performances of pigs in the T-maze task or SORT. IUGR3 pigs tended to be faster to enter the reward arm and to obtain the reward in the reversal step of the T-Maze task, suggesting a better learning flexibility, compared to IUGR1 (entry t72.8=2.9, P = 0.024; reward t80 = 3.28, P = 0.008) and IUGR2 (entry t70.3=2.5, P = 0.068; reward t73.9 = 2.77, P = 0.034) pigs. However, a higher percentage of IUGR1 pigs tended to approach the novel object first (DSCF-value = 3.07; P = 0.076) and to interact with it more (t40 = 2.19, P = 0.085), relative to IGUR3 pigs. IUGR1 pigs showed a strong preference for the novel object, as they had a greater percentage time difference interacting with the objects when the novel object was presented (t81 = − 3.41, P = 0.013). In conclusion, some low birth-weight piglets are able to perform a spatial task and an object recognition test, but performances in these tests may be modulated by IUGR level.",
keywords = "Pigs, Habituation, Learning, Memory, IUGR, Energy supplementation",
author = "OS Schmitt and Keelin O'Driscoll and EM Baxter",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10071-019-01251-8",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "373--385",
journal = "Animal Cognition",
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T1 - Exploratory study of the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal energy supplementation of low birth-weight piglets on their post-weaning cognitive abilities

AU - Schmitt, OS

AU - O'Driscoll, Keelin

AU - Baxter, EM

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Y1 - 2019/5/1

N2 - The present study investigated the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR, score 0–3; i.e., “normal” to “severe”) level at birth, and the effects of neonatal energy supplementation (dosed with 2 ml of coconut oil, commercial product or water, or sham-dosed), on post-weaning cognitive abilities of low birth-weight piglets (< 1.1 kg). In total, 184 piglets were recruited at weaning (27 ± 0.1 days) for habituation to the test procedures, and were either tested for spatial learning and memory in a T-maze (n = 42; 37 ± 0.5 days) or for short-term memory in a spontaneous object recognition task (SORT; n = 47; 41 ± 0.3 days). Neonatal supplementation did not affect performances of pigs in the T-maze task or SORT. IUGR3 pigs tended to be faster to enter the reward arm and to obtain the reward in the reversal step of the T-Maze task, suggesting a better learning flexibility, compared to IUGR1 (entry t72.8=2.9, P = 0.024; reward t80 = 3.28, P = 0.008) and IUGR2 (entry t70.3=2.5, P = 0.068; reward t73.9 = 2.77, P = 0.034) pigs. However, a higher percentage of IUGR1 pigs tended to approach the novel object first (DSCF-value = 3.07; P = 0.076) and to interact with it more (t40 = 2.19, P = 0.085), relative to IGUR3 pigs. IUGR1 pigs showed a strong preference for the novel object, as they had a greater percentage time difference interacting with the objects when the novel object was presented (t81 = − 3.41, P = 0.013). In conclusion, some low birth-weight piglets are able to perform a spatial task and an object recognition test, but performances in these tests may be modulated by IUGR level.

AB - The present study investigated the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR, score 0–3; i.e., “normal” to “severe”) level at birth, and the effects of neonatal energy supplementation (dosed with 2 ml of coconut oil, commercial product or water, or sham-dosed), on post-weaning cognitive abilities of low birth-weight piglets (< 1.1 kg). In total, 184 piglets were recruited at weaning (27 ± 0.1 days) for habituation to the test procedures, and were either tested for spatial learning and memory in a T-maze (n = 42; 37 ± 0.5 days) or for short-term memory in a spontaneous object recognition task (SORT; n = 47; 41 ± 0.3 days). Neonatal supplementation did not affect performances of pigs in the T-maze task or SORT. IUGR3 pigs tended to be faster to enter the reward arm and to obtain the reward in the reversal step of the T-Maze task, suggesting a better learning flexibility, compared to IUGR1 (entry t72.8=2.9, P = 0.024; reward t80 = 3.28, P = 0.008) and IUGR2 (entry t70.3=2.5, P = 0.068; reward t73.9 = 2.77, P = 0.034) pigs. However, a higher percentage of IUGR1 pigs tended to approach the novel object first (DSCF-value = 3.07; P = 0.076) and to interact with it more (t40 = 2.19, P = 0.085), relative to IGUR3 pigs. IUGR1 pigs showed a strong preference for the novel object, as they had a greater percentage time difference interacting with the objects when the novel object was presented (t81 = − 3.41, P = 0.013). In conclusion, some low birth-weight piglets are able to perform a spatial task and an object recognition test, but performances in these tests may be modulated by IUGR level.

KW - Pigs

KW - Habituation

KW - Learning

KW - Memory

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DO - 10.1007/s10071-019-01251-8

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JF - Animal Cognition

SN - 1435-9448

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