High interindividual and intraindividual variation of oxytocin secretion in estrous mares exposed to stallions, but no significant link to mate preferences

Käser, Rebekka; Bruckmaier, Rupert; Thomas, Selina; Sieme, H.; Wedekind, C.; Burger, Dominik (2016). High interindividual and intraindividual variation of oxytocin secretion in estrous mares exposed to stallions, but no significant link to mate preferences. Theriogenology, 86(9), pp. 2222-2229. Elsevier 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.07.017

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Oxytocin is a hormone that may not only influence reproductive mechanisms in mammals but also their social behavior, including pair bonding. We therefore tested if the concentrations of oxytocin and other hormones reveal mate preferences of 13 mares in estrus. Each mare was first exposed to two stallions (haphazardly selected out of seven) and her behavior recorded. The mare was then returned to her box (i.e., no contact to stallions during that time). Approximately 4.5 hours later, venous blood samples were collected every minute during 30 minutes preceding exposure to one of the two previously used stallions, 6 minutes during exposure, and 30 minutes after exposure back in the mare's box. The procedure was repeated in the consecutive estrus cycle, with the difference that the mare was each exposed to the other of the two stallions during oxytocin measurements. In 20 of the 26 trials, oxytocin concentrations were significantly elevated during exposure to the stallion, without significant associations to cortisol and estradiol concentrations. We found no significant association between oxytocin secretion and preferences in the previous choice situation. While estradiol concentration showed a high repeatability over the two cycles, we found considerable intraindividual differences in oxytocin and cortisol plasma concentration among the two cycles. Partially, the variation in oxytocin concentrations could be linked to the time of ovulation, with lower oxytocin plasma concentrations in mares which ovulated later than expected. In conclusion, when teasing under experimental conditions, we found high interindividual and intraindividual variation among mares in the increase of oxytocin plasma concentrations, depending on the timing of ovulation. However, oxytocin levels seemed to be no predictor of mare preference.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Equine Clinic
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Käser, Rebekka; Bruckmaier, Rupert; Thomas, Selina and Burger, Dominik

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0093-691X

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Andrea Gassmann-Suter

Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2017 14:32

Last Modified:

06 Jul 2017 14:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.07.017

PubMed ID:

27587272

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.93924

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/93924

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