The objective of this study was to research correlations between milk composition and selected blood indicators of liver function in ewes during lactation. The research was conducted with samples of milk and blood from Travnik Pramenka ewes (n = 99). Samples were collected in the area of western Slavonia in Croatia from lactating sheep grazing on natural pastures. Chemical composition of sheep milk was analysed as well as biochemical parameters in serum. Positive correlation between ALB : TGC, ALB : ALT, GUK : GGT, CHOL : ALT and AST : GGT was determined, while significant negative correlation was determined between GUK : ALB, GUK : TGC, GUK : ALT, ALB : GGT as well as ALT : GGT. Significant positive correlation was determined between blood and milk indicators, like ALB protein (r = 0.243), ALB : DMNF (r = 0.309) and ALB : SCC (r = 0.249), as well as negative correlation between TGC : MY (r = -0.264), ALT : protein (r = -0.258), lactose : TGC (r = -0.274) and ALT : DMNF (r = -0.234). The relations between indicators of milk composition, milk production and ewes blood indicators as well as their mutual connections indicate the justification of using the analysis of liver status indicators. Accordingly, by using these relations metabolic pathways of liver status indicators could be better monitored, which is important for practice regarding prevention of possible feeding errors and prevention of major production losses while maintaining the health of lactating sheep.
AbstractPredator–prey relationships are of great significance to ecosystems, and their effects on the population dynamics of voles and lemmings (Microtinae) in Boreal and Arctic environments have long been of particular interest. A simple ecosystem with one major prey and one major predator could be an ideal setting for a study of their interactions. This is the situation on several small islands on the coast of northern Norway just below the Arctic Circle, with populations of water voles Arvicola amphibius preyed upon by the eagle owl Bubo bubo. The population dynamics of the water vole was studied by trapping and tagging in 2003–2018, eagle owl pellets were collected for analyses, eagle owl breeding attempts were recorded, and some weather variables collected from official recordings. After having been introduced well into the study period, the number of sheep Ovis aries was also recorded. Water voles were the main prey of the eagle owl, with 89% occurrence in pellets, with an overrepresentation of adults and males. Both predation, sheep grazing and extreme weather events influenced the vole population. Predator exclusion, as happened in three summers due to an intensive radio tracking study, especially increased the number of surviving young (in particular from the early cohorts) and the mass of adults. Extreme weather events, such as flooding in summer and deeply frozen ground in winter, most significantly reduced vole populations. Sheep grazing may exacerbate the effects of predation. A similar multitude of factors may affect populations of other rodent species as well.
Apelin (APLN) is an adipokine mainly produced by adipose tissue and related to an individual’s nutritional status as well as digestive apparatus functions. In this work, APLN and its receptor (APLNR) were investigated, by immunohistochemistry, in the abomasum and duodenum of 15 Comisana × Appenninica adult sheep reared in a semi-natural pasture. Organ samples were collected after maximum pasture flowering (M × F group) and after maximum pasture dryness (M × D group); the experimental group (E × p group) received a feed supplementation of 600 grams/day/head of barley and corn in addition to M × D group feeding. APLN and APLNR were identified in the lining epithelium and the fundic gland chief cells of the abomasum. APLNR was observed in the lining epithelium, in the crypts and the serotonin secreting cells of the duodenum. Similar reactivity was observed between the M × F and E × p groups, while the M × D group showed a lower intensity of immunostaining for both APLN and APLNR in all positive structures but the duodenal serotonin neuroendocrine cells. Hence, our findings show that the E × p group presents a picture quite overlapped with M × F and suggest that food supplementation has a maintaining effect on the apelinergic system expression in the investigated digestive tracts of the sheep.