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  • 1 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 2 Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Debrecen Debrecen, Hungary
  • 3 Department of Applied Radiobiology, Nuclear Research Centre Cairo, Egypt
  • 4 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 5 Frédéric Joliot-Curie National Research Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene Budapest, Hungary
  • 6 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 7 INRA-Theix St-Genes Champanelle, France
  • 8 Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Debrecen Debrecen, Hungary
  • 9 INRA-Theix St-Genes Champanelle, France
  • 10 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 11 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
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Maternal plasma leptin is elevated in ewes during pregnancy. The authors studied whether there was any relation between maternal plasma leptin and insulin concentrations, the number of fetuses and the circulating and faecal levels of gestagens. At the end of the breeding season in January the ovarian activity of Prolific Merino ewes was induced/synchronised with gestagen + eCG treatment. Ewes were inseminated artificially (AI) by laparoscopy. Blood and faecal samples were collected before AI (day 0) and again 41, 81 and 101 days later. The plasma levels of leptin (pL), insulin and progesterone (pP4), and the faecal P4 metabolite (P4-met) content were determined. The day 0 level of pL was significantly higher in pregnant (n = 24) than in non-pregnant ewes (n = 32). By day 41 the pL of pregnant animals had doubled, it showed a further moderate increase on day 81, and decreased slightly thereafter. During pregnancy pP4 and faecal P4-met rose continuously and were positively correlated at all stages. The mean levels of pL and pP4 and the faecal content of P4-met were lower in ewes bearing single (n = 12) than in those with 2 (n = 6) or 3-5 fetuses (n = 6). Analysis of variance demonstrated significant differences according to the number of fetuses in the pL and pP4, but not in P4-met (p = 0.042, 0.044, and 0.051, respectively). Leptin showed positive correlation with insulin before the AI but not during pregnancy. On days 41 and 81 pL showed a slight positive correlation with P4 and P4-met, which decreased slightly by day 101. This study shows that although leptinaemia is affected by the number of fetuses and the level of P4, pregnancy stage is a more important regulator than these additional factors.

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