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Gene expression in the amygdala and hippocampus of cyclic and acyclic gilts
Journal of Animal Science  (IF3.159),  Pub Date : 2022-01-05, DOI: 10.1093/jas/skab372
Hiruni R Wijesena, Dan J Nonneman, Brittney N Keel, Clay A Lents

Age at first estrus is the earliest phenotypic indicator of future reproductive success of gilts. Prebreeding anestrus is a major reason for reproductive failure leading to culling of replacement gilts. The two types of prebreeding anestrus are delay in attaining puberty (prepubertal anestrus, PPA) and silent ovulation (behavioral anestrus, BA). Neural tissues such as amygdala and hippocampus play a major role in regulating sexual behavior, social interactions, and receptivity to males. Differences in gene expression in the amygdala and hippocampus of gilts were analyzed in three comparisons: 1) PPA cases and cyclic controls at follicular phase of estrous cycle, 2) BA cases and cyclic controls at luteal phase of estrous cycle, and 3) gilts at different stages of the ovarian cycle (cyclic gilts at follicular phase and luteal phase of estrous cycle) to gain functional understanding of how these rarely studied tissues may differ between pubertal phenotypes and different stages of the estrous cycle of gilts. Differentially expressed genes (DEG) between PPA and BA cases and their respective cyclic controls were involved in neurological and behavioral disorders as well as nervous system functions that could directly or indirectly involved in development of behaviors related to estrus. The comparison between cyclic follicular and luteal phase control gilts identified the greatest number of DEG in the hippocampus and amygdala. These DEG were involved in adult neurogenesis and neural synapse (e.g., GABAergic, dopamine, cholinergic), suggesting that these tissues undergo structural changes and synaptic plasticity in gilts. This is the first report to demonstrate that the stage of estrous cycle is associated with dynamic changes in gene expression within porcine hippocampus and amygdala and indicates a role of gonadal steroids in regulating their biology.