Navigation Links
Helping horses come to term
Date:8/2/2013

As any nervous first-time mother will confirm, the initial three months of pregnancy are the most risky time: many expectant women are reluctant to inform their friends or colleagues that they are pregnant until after this period is past. It is less well known that horses suffer from similar problems, with a considerable number of pregnancies failing to progress beyond the first five weeks. The explanation is still unclear but may relate to a problem with the mare's immune system, as the latest work in the group of Christine Aurich in the Vetmeduni's Centre for Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer strongly suggests.

The fertilized egg, or conceptus, obviously contains contributions from the stallion as well as the mare, which means it somehow has to avoid being recognized and attacked by the mare's immune system. Horse breeders talk about maternal tolerance of the conceptus and horses as other animals have a variety of mechanisms to enable fertilization and a successful pregnancy. Maternal tolerance probably depends on wide-ranging changes to the maternal immune response. But what makes some mares better than others at adapting their immune systems?

There are indications from work in humans and mice that a particular class of immune cell, the so-called regulatory T cells or Tregs (pronounced "tea regs"), might somehow be important in maternal tolerance. Aurich and her colleagues have now developed a highly sensitive assay to measure the proportion of Tregs in the blood of horses. They used their new technique to investigate over 100 mares that were presented for artificial insemination, correlating the results with the outcome of the resulting pregnancies.

Of course, not all of the animals conceived. The scientists could find no association between the level of Tregs in the mares' blood with the success of the insemination procedure. However, they did observe clearly lower numbers of Tregs in the blood of horses that suffered an early loss of pregnancy compared with those that either aborted much later (for whatever reason) or gave birth to live foals. The results suggest that high numbers of Tregs might somehow be required to suppress the mare's natural immune reaction against the conceptus. In other words, low levels of Treg cells in mares might cause pregnancy loss in the five weeks after fertilization.

The differences in the levels of Tregs between horses in the "successful pregnancy" and the "unsuccessful" groups were too small to be useful to predict whether an individual mare is likely to suffer early pregnancy failure. Nevertheless, the results may help breeders solve the problem. There is evidence from human medicine that oestradiol may enhance the function of Tregs during pregnancy and treatment with this hormone could possibly benefit mares prone to losing the conceptus. Another possible course would be to expose mares to the stallion's semen before implantation, which might increase the number of Tregs in the blood and the animal's tolerance to the conceptus, thereby helping avoid early pregnancy losses.

Aurich is optimistic: "A number of reasons have been proposed to account for early pregnancy failure in the horse but our work suggests that a low level of Tregs may actually be among the most important factors. It can only be a matter of time before we find out how to solve the problem."


'/>"/>

Contact: Susanna Kautschitsch
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-1153
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Helping dementia patients remember to eat well improves physical and mental health
2. Helping the nose know
3. Helping pigs to digest phosphorus
4. Helping family is key for social birds
5. New report offers science-based strategies for management of western free-ranging horses and burros
6. Blowing in the wind: How accurate is thermography of horses legs?
7. Horses dont have stage fright -- but their riders do
8. Researchers make racehorses fertile
9. Study investigates headshaking in horses
10. WSU/USDA scientist creates test, treatment for malaria-like sickness in horses
11. Controlling gait of horses may be possible, says key study from Texas A&M
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator in ... the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified . ... that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises and ... 15 million users across the financial services industry, however ... suites and physical access represent a growing portion of ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , ... that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ... covers the linking of an iris image with a ... and represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, ... on developing health and wellness apps that provide a ... Genome is the first hackathon for personal genomics ... companies in the genomics, tech and health industries are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Kinexum, a distinguished resource for research, ... the appointment of Thomas C. Seoh as ... M.D., Kinexum founder, who becomes Executive Chairman and will ... clients. Thomas Seoh commented, "I ... mission and lead the firm,s remarkable team of life ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... LABS, Inc. (LABS) announced in December ... its extensive test menu: Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) for ZIKV; and Enzyme Immunoassays (EIAs) ... to offer NAT screening for blood donors under an Investigational New Drug (IND) study ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... , April 26, 2017  Genisphere LLC, ... platform, has signed a collaborative and sponsored research ... Silvia Muro . The overall goal of ... pharmacodynamics of various 3DNA designs and formulations after ... targeting diseases of the vasculature as well as ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... R.I. , April 25, 2017 ... Inc. ("EpiVax") has licensed its novel immune-modulating technology to ... autoimmune disease and allergy. Tregitopes, pronounced ... in human immunoglobulin by EpiVax CEO Annie ... Similar to intravenous immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune disease ...
Breaking Biology Technology: