Date of Award

1976

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Department

Graduate School

First Advisor

Donald Y. Shirachi

First Committee Member

Hubert C. Stanton

Second Committee Member

Marvin H. Malone

Third Committee Member

Charles M. Roscoe

Fourth Committee Member

Horach H. Loh

Abstract

The development of the animal after birth is marked by complex changes. Certain periods are particularly important and have been defined as "critical periods" (Krecek, 1971). Two processes are important to the survival of the animals during these times. The process of "adaptation" involves the maturation of specific physiological systems according to the needs of the neonatal animal, and is dictated by the external environment. The process of "tolerance" renders the neonate relatively unresponsive to a stressor as compared to the adult and protects the animals from over-responding the depleting vital resources until it is physiologically mature. An example of tolerance is the resistance to anoxia of immature neonates.

The newborn pig has a high rate of mortality. The number of pigs born 114 days after conception represent only about 55% of the original ova released. Besides having a large number of embryo losses during the gestation period, 13-25% of the live born piglets die before weaning as shown in Table I.

The low viability of the neonatal piglets is undoubtedly related to their inability to maintain homeostasis during stress. The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is a major coordinator of homeostasis. Therefore, a study of the development of the sympathetic nervous system could provide some clues to explain the high mortality rate of the newborn pigs. Since the coordinating ability of the sympathetic nervous system is not only dependent on the maturity of the system, but also on the development of the effector organs and their responsiveness to activation, it is logical to examine their relative development.

Pages

132

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