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Priming for welfare: gut microbiota is associated with equitation conditions and behavior in horse athletes

Abstract : We simultaneously measured the fecal microbiota and multiple environmental and host-related variables in a cohort of 185 healthy horses reared in similar conditions during a period of eight months. The pattern of rare bacteria varied from host to host and was largely different between two time points. Among a suite of variables examined, equitation factors were highly associated with the gut microbiota variability, evoking a relationship between gut microbiota and high levels of physical and mental stressors. Behavioral indicators that pointed toward a compromised welfare state (e.g. stereotypies, hypervigilance and aggressiveness) were also associated with the gut microbiota, reinforcing the notion for the existence of the microbiota-gut-brain axis. These observations were consistent with the microbiability of behaviour traits (> 15%), illustrating the importance of gut microbial composition to animal behaviour. As more elite athletes suffer from stress, targeting the microbiota offers a new opportunity to investigate the bidirectional interactions within the brain gut microbiota axis.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03197220
Contributor : Nuria Mach <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 4:08:00 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 10:51:41 AM

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Nuria Mach, Alice Ruet, Allison Clark, David Bars-Cortina, Yuliaxis Ramayo-Caldas, et al.. Priming for welfare: gut microbiota is associated with equitation conditions and behavior in horse athletes. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10, ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-65444-9⟩. ⟨hal-03197220⟩

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