Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants

S M Rhind, N P Evans, M Bellingham, R M Sharpe, C Cotinot, B Mandon-Pepin, B Loup, K D Sinclair, R G Lea, P Pocar, B Fischer, E van der Zalm, K Hart, J-S Schmidt, M R Amezaga, P A Fowler

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Abstract

Anthropogenic pollutants comprise a wide range of synthetic organic compounds and heavy metals, which are dispersed throughout the environment, usually at low concentrations. Exposure of ruminants, as for all other animals, is unavoidable and while the levels of exposure to most chemicals are usually too low to induce any physiological effects, combinations of pollutants can act additively or synergistically to perturb multiple physiological systems at all ages but particularly in the developing foetus. In sheep, organs affected by pollutant exposure include the ovary, testis, hypothalamus and pituitary gland and bone. Reported effects of exposure include changes in organ weight and gross structure, histology and gene and protein expression but these changes are not reflected in changes in reproductive performance under the conditions tested. These results illustrate the complexity of the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on the reproductive axis, which make it difficult to extrapolate between, or even within, species. Effects of pollutant exposure on the thyroid gland, immune, cardiovascular and obesogenic systems have not been shown explicitly, in ruminants, but work on other species suggests that these systems can also be perturbed. It is concluded that exposure to a mixture of anthropogenic pollutants has significant effects on a wide variety of physiological systems, including the reproductive system. Although this physiological insult has not yet been shown to lead to a reduction in ruminant gross performance, there are already reports indicating that anthropogenic pollutant exposure can compromise several physiological systems and may pose a significant threat to both reproductive performance and welfare in the longer term. At present, many potential mechanisms of action for individual chemicals have been identified but knowledge of factors affecting the rate of tissue exposure and of the effects of combinations of chemicals on physiological systems is poor. Nevertheless, both are vital for the identification of risks to animal productivity and welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1239
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal
Volume4
Issue number7
Early online date21 Apr 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

Fingerprint

ruminants
pollutants
reproductive performance
endocrine-disrupting chemicals
thyroid gland
pituitary gland
reproductive system
hypothalamus
tissue weight
organic compounds
histology
fetus
mechanism of action
testes
animals
heavy metals
protein synthesis
bones
sheep
gene expression

Keywords

  • pollutants
  • endocrine disrupting compounds
  • reproduction
  • ruminants

Cite this

Rhind, S. M., Evans, N. P., Bellingham, M., Sharpe, R. M., Cotinot, C., Mandon-Pepin, B., ... Fowler, P. A. (2010). Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants. Animal , 4(7), 1227-1239. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731110000595

Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants. / Rhind, S M; Evans, N P; Bellingham, M; Sharpe, R M; Cotinot, C; Mandon-Pepin, B; Loup, B; Sinclair, K D; Lea, R G; Pocar, P; Fischer, B; van der Zalm, E; Hart, K; Schmidt, J-S; Amezaga, M R; Fowler, P A.

In: Animal , Vol. 4, No. 7, 07.2010, p. 1227-1239.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rhind, SM, Evans, NP, Bellingham, M, Sharpe, RM, Cotinot, C, Mandon-Pepin, B, Loup, B, Sinclair, KD, Lea, RG, Pocar, P, Fischer, B, van der Zalm, E, Hart, K, Schmidt, J-S, Amezaga, MR & Fowler, PA 2010, 'Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants', Animal , vol. 4, no. 7, pp. 1227-1239. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731110000595
Rhind SM, Evans NP, Bellingham M, Sharpe RM, Cotinot C, Mandon-Pepin B et al. Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants. Animal . 2010 Jul;4(7):1227-1239. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731110000595
Rhind, S M ; Evans, N P ; Bellingham, M ; Sharpe, R M ; Cotinot, C ; Mandon-Pepin, B ; Loup, B ; Sinclair, K D ; Lea, R G ; Pocar, P ; Fischer, B ; van der Zalm, E ; Hart, K ; Schmidt, J-S ; Amezaga, M R ; Fowler, P A. / Effects of environmental pollutants on the reproduction and welfare of ruminants. In: Animal . 2010 ; Vol. 4, No. 7. pp. 1227-1239.
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