Pigs living in commercial husbandry systems may experience both acute stress due to standard management procedures and chronic stress through limitations in their barren housing environment. This might influence their immune status, including antibody responses to neural and danger autoantigens. Levels of natural autoantibody (NAAb)-binding phosphorylcholine-conjugated bovine serum albumin (PC-BSA) and myelin basic protein (MBP) were measured over time in pigs that were kept in environmental enriched v. barren housing, and that underwent a regrouping test. In total, 480 pigs were housed in 80 pens in either barren or straw-enriched pens from 4 through 23 weeks of age. Blood samples were taken from pigs before (week 8), and 3 days after a 24 h regrouping test (week 9), and at 22 weeks of age. Phosphorylcholine-conjugated bovine serum albumin (PC-BSA) and MBP antibody titres in serum were measured using ELISA. Enriched-housed pigs had higher levels of IgM-binding MBP, and tended to have higher levels of IgG-binding MBP and IgA-binding PC-BSA than barren-housed pigs. Each NAAb measured in this study was affected by gender and litter. These results suggest that enriched housing conditions, as well as acute regrouping stress, have an influence on levels of serum NAAb-binding danger and neural antigens in pigs.
- environmental enrichment
- natural autoantibody