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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Balázs Bényei, István Komlósi, Anna Pécsi, Margit Kulcsár, László Huzsvai, C. Barros and Gyula Huszenicza

Metabolic hormones [insulin, leptin, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)], progesterone (P4) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) serum concentrations were evaluated and their effect on the superovulation results of donor cows was investigated in a semi-arid environment. Body weight, body condition score (BCS) and lactation stage were also included in the analysis. Twenty-three Holstein-Friesian cows were superovulated with 600 IU FSHp following the routine procedure and flushed on day 7 in a Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer Centre in the semi-arid area of Brazil. The corpora lutea (CL) were counted and blood samples were collected for assays. All of the hormones investigated and BHB serum concentrations were within the physiological ranges. There was a positive correlation between hormones, except between BHB and all the others. The leptin level was influenced by feeding status, as indicated by the BCS. Insulin, T4, T3 and BHB levels were affected by milking status. Dry cows had higher levels of all hormones except BHB. An optimum level of leptin resulted in the highest number of CL, while the linear increase of P4, T4 and IGF significantly increased the number of CL.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Orsolya Balogh, Hedvig Fébel, Gyula Huszenicza, Margit Kulcsár, Zsolt Abonyi-Tóth, Tamás Endrődi and György Gábor

The aim of this study was to identify relationships among seasonal differences of fertility, metabolic parameters and appearance of irregular luteal forms in high-yielding dairy cows. Holstein-Friesian cows were put on the Provsynch regimen in winter (n = 10) and in summer (n = 10). Blood sampling (starting 35 days post partum) and rectal ultrasound examinations (starting post insemination) were carried out once a week in each examination period. Metabolic [plasma nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels, ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) and serum beta-carotene] and endocrine parameters [plasma thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) and insulin levels] were measured. In summer, two cows were excluded from the study because of metritis and none of the remaining animals became pregnant, but 6 of the 8 cows had irregular luteal forms (ILF) on their ovaries. In winter, one cow was excluded because of metritis and 6 of the 9 cows became pregnant, while 2 of the 3 open cows had irregular luteal forms. In summer the mean plasma NEFA and BHB concentrations were significantly higher, while serum carotene and plasma IGF-I concentrations were significantly lower than in winter. The high plasma NEFA concentration found in summer seemed to be in association with the lower body condition score (BCS) caused by depressed appetite. In conclusion, statistical analysis supports the hypothesis that increased plasma NEFA and BHB and decreased plasma IGF-I concentrations may result in reduced fertility in summer. These changes may be associated with the more frequent appearance of ILFs and probably have a negative effect on ovarian function and/or oocyte quality.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Vera Faigl, Mónika Keresztes, Alíz Márton, Hedvig Fébel, Margit Kulcsár, Sándor Nagy, Sándor Cseh, László Solti and Gyula Huszenicza

Seasonal differences in the resumption of postpartum ovarian activity, milk production and periparturient metabolic status were investigated in lactating non-suckling dairy Awassi sheep in two consecutive experiments. In Experiment 1, autumn-lambing (AL, n = 27) and spring-lambing (SL, n = 37) ewes were investigated. Ovarian activity was monitored by means of individual progesterone (P4) profiles from day 5 to day 100 post partum. Most of the AL dams (89%) ovulated till day 35 after parturition and became cyclic thereafter. Incidence of persistent corpus luteum (CLP) and short luteal phases (sCL) was frequent (18% and 29%, respectively) among non-conceiving dams. In contrast, only 24% of the SL ewes ovulated before day 35. P4 levels during the luteal phase were lower in cyclic animals, and the cycle was longer in SL than in AL animals. No CLP or sCL was detected in the spring-lambing group, and 61% of SL ewes remained acyclic till the end of the trial. Lactation length was significantly longer in SL dams than in AL ewes (P = 0.008). According to the plasma metabolites (BHB, NEFA) and metabolic hormones (insulin, IGF-I, thyroxine) examined, negative energy balance did not appear in any of the animals. However, seasonal differences were seen in IGF-I and thyroxine levels, which were higher in the SL dams. In Experiment 2, influence of additional lighting was studied in autumn-lambing ewes. The long-day photoperiod (LD, n = 23) group was exposed to artificial light from sunset till midnight (approx. 16 h light/8 h dark) from some weeks before the expected date of delivery in mid-September until the end of December. The control group (n = 25) experienced only natural daylength. The first postpartum ovulation tended to occur later in the LD animals than in the controls (P = 0.047). The lactation of the LD group tended to be longer (P = 0.061). NEFA, BHB, insulin, IGF-I and thyroxine levels did not differ between the groups. Conclusions: (i) The ovarian function of the Awassi population is seasonal under temperate continental climate conditions. (ii) The first postpartum ovulation of non-suckling, autumn-lambing dams may occur very early, even before the completion of uterine involution. (iii) Additional artificial lighting may delay the time of first postpartum ovulation in AL ewes. (iv) Postpartum negative energy balance is unlikely to occur in dairy Awassi ewes even in high-producing intensive systems.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Vera Faigl, Mónika Keresztes, Margit Kulcsár, Sándor Nagy, Zsuzsanna Keresztes, Georgios Amiridis, László Solti, Gyula Huszenicza and Sándor Cseh

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of long-term melatonin treatment applied during the non-breeding season on semen characteristics, endocrine function of testicles and baseline level of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in Awassi rams kept in the temperate continental zone of Europe and used as semen donors in an artificial insemination (AI) programme. On 23 February (day 0), slow-release melatonin implants were inserted subcutaneously into rams (n = 8). Control animals (n = 8) received no treatment. In both groups, basic semen parameters (concentration, total motility, fast and slow forward motility, morphology), GnRH-induced testosterone response and basal IGF-I concentration were evaluated on days 0, 47 and 71. No differences were found in concentration of spermatozoa, total motility, and numbers of spermatozoa with fast and slow progressive motility and normal/abnormal morphology between the melatonin-treated and the control group. However, in melatonin-treated animals, basal and GnRH-induced testosterone levels were slightly elevated on day 47 and became significantly higher on day 71 (P < 0.05) as compared to controls. There was no difference in plasma IGF-I levels between the groups. In conclusion, slow-release melatonin applied during the non-breeding season improves testicular testosterone production but does not influence the semen characteristics and the IGF-I level of semen donor Awassi rams used in an AI programme and kept in the temperate continental zone of Europe.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Andrea Győrffy, Mónika Keresztes, Vera Faigl, Vilmos Frenyó, Margit Kulcsár, Tibor Gaál, Miklós Mézes, Attila Zsarnovszky, Gyula Huszenicza and Tibor Bartha

In the regulation of energy metabolism, the liver plays an important role in the reinforcement of energy production. In periparturient cows the energy homeostasis turns into a negative energy balance that may shift the physiological regulation of energy balance towards pathological processes. Propylene glycol (PG), as a complementary source of energy used in the nutrition of dairy cows, alters systemic thyroid hormone economy; however, the exact mechanism through which highly glycogenic feed supplements impact liver metabolism is little known. Previous studies showed that only leptin receptors are expressed in the liver of cows, and now we report that leptin mRNA is expressed in the liver of cows as well. The present results show that the mRNA of leptin and its receptors are differentially modulated by the increased energy content of the feed consumed. Simultaneous changes in hepatic type I deiodinase activity suggest that hepatic modulation of the leptin system by PG supplementation may be mediated by an increased local thyroxine-triiodothyronine conversion. Since PG supplementation with simultaneous T4–T3 turnover and increased hepatic leptin- and short-form leptin receptor mRNA were not associated with a significant change in hepatic total lipid levels, it is suggested that the leptin system, directly or indirectly modulated by thyroid hormones, may represent a local defence mechanism to prevent fatty liver formation.

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