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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: Margit Kulcsár, Gabriella Dankó, H. G. I. Magdy, J. Reiczigel, T. Forgach, Angella Proháczik, Carole Delavaud, K. Magyar, Y. Chilliard, L. Solti, and Gy. Huszenicza

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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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Margit Kulcsár, Gabriella Dankó, Carole Delavaud, C. Mircu, Anna J. Nikolic, A. Gáspárdy, H. Cernescu, Y. Chilliard, S. Cseh, P. Rudas, and Gy. Huszenicza

Ketosis was diagnosed in a flock of Merino ewes that conceived from synchronised oestrus in the early autumn period. On day 140 of pregnancy the ewes were sampled for determination of βOH-butyrate (BHB), AST, glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), total cholesterol (TCH), insulin, T4, T3, cortisol, IGF-1 and leptin. The results were evaluated according to the number of fetuses born some days later and the presence of hyperketonaemia (BHB: ≥ 1.60 mmol/l). In May, about 3 months after lambing, cyclic ovarian function was induced (Cronolone + eCG), and the ewes were inseminated artificially (AI) 48 h after the removal of gestagen-containing sponge. At the time of AI and 10 days later blood samples were collected again to check the plasma levels of the same constituents as previously (in samples taken at AI), and to monitor the ovarian response by assaying progesterone (in both samples). On day 140 of gestation significantly lower BHB levels were detected in dams with single (n = 41) than in those with twin (n = 57) pregnancies. Hyperketonaemia was found only in ewes bearing twins (n = 27). These animals had higher NEFA and cortisol, and lower TCH, insulin, IGF-1, leptin and T3 levels than their normoketonaemic twin-bearing flock-mates, and those with single pregnancy. The blood glucose concentrations varied within a wide range, and the means of groups did not exhibit any significant differences. The formerly hyperketonaemic individuals were characterised by lower leptin level 3 months after lambing, and they showed a poorer response to the cycle-induction procedure than the others. The non-responders had lower IGF-1 and leptin levels than those ovulated after this treatment. It was concluded that the subclinical form of ovine ketosis is characterised by complex endocrine alterations, reflecting an obvious form of negative energy balance. If attempts to induce cyclic ovarian function outside the breeding season are made soon after lambing, the ovarian response and fertility of these ewes may also be depressed.

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The objectives of this study were (a) to assess the ovulatory response and embryo production of Hungarian Merino ewes after superovulation, (b) to investigate the factors influencing the efficiency of embryo transfer (ET) in Hungarian Merino ewes, (c) to compare the results of two ovarian stimulation protocols (PMSG and PMSG+FSH treatment) in Hungarian Merino ewes, and (d) to study how superovulation, laparoscopic insemination and surgical embryo retrieval (ER) affect the subsequent reproduction of Hungarian Merino donor females after an ET programme. There was no significant difference between the ovarian stimulation protocols in the ratio of donor ewes responding to superovulation nor in the average number of corpora lutea. However, the number of transferable embryos recovered per donor ewe was higher in the PMSG+FSH group. The proportion of transferable embryos, unfertilised oocytes and degenerated embryos did not differ between the treatment protocols. The total pregnancy rate was 53.4% (179/335). Neither the developmental stage of the embryo nor the number of transferred embryos affect the implantation of embryos. However, the increased number of transferred embryos positively influenced the pregnancy rate. No difference was found in the pregnancy rate between synchronised and nonsynchronised groups of recipients. Thirty-six out of 45 donor ewes (80%) became pregnant within one year after the ET programme, indicating that ovarian stimulation and surgical ER did not affect adversely their reproduction.

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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the feasibility of improving the synchronisation of lambing after oestrus synchronisation and artificial insemination (AI). To this end, low doses of dexamethasone 21-isonicotinate (DEX) alone or in combination with prostaglandin F 2a (PG) were used in five treated groups (n = 20 each) and one control group (n = 136) of Chios ewes. On day 143 of pregnancy 1.5 mg DEX was given in Group 5, while on day 146 the following treatments were applied: 0.0375 mg PG in Groups 4 and 5, and 1, 1.5 and 2 mg of DEX in ewes of Groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The control ewes received no treatment. The 1.5 and 2 mg dose of DEX was more effective in synchronising labour as regards the treatment to lambing interval and the proportion of ewes that gave birth within 3 days. However, obstetrical manipulations were needed, and dead lambs were born when 2 mg DEX was used. It was concluded that lambing can be safely synchronised in Chios ewes with 1.5 mg DEX given on day 146, without affecting the viability of lambs and without parturition complications.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Theodora Tsiligianni, Irene Valasi, Sándor Cseh, Emmanuel Vainas, Vera Faigl, Fotini Samartzi, Thomas Papanikolaou, Eleni Dovolou, and Georgios Amiridis

Follicular development and oocyte quality were assessed by laparoscopic observation and in vitro fertilisation, respectively, in melatonin-treated (Group M) and control (Group C) anoestrous Chios ewes (n = 10 in each group). Fourteen days after melatonin insertion, all ewes had laparoscopic evaluation of the follicular population followed by oocyte pick-up (OPU); on day 22 intravaginal progestagen sponges were inserted for 14 days. Two days after sponge removal the follicular population was re-evaluated and a second follicular aspiration was performed. Collected oocytes from the second OPU underwent in vitro maturation, fertilisation and culture. The number of large follicles was higher in Group M than in the control ewes during the first OPU and tended to be so (P = 0.06) at the second. Morphologically, oocytes collected from controls were of better quality than those from Group M; however, more oocytes collected from melatonintreated animals fertilised and developed in vitro . These results indicate that melatonin is a potent regulator of follicular development and oocyte competence during the anoestrous period of the ewe.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Janina Skipor, Aleksandra Szczepkowska, Marta Kowalewska, Andrzej Herman, and Paweł Lisiewski

The blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB) located in the epithelial cells of the choroid plexus (CP) forms the interface between the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and pathogen components circulating in the blood. The CP is also implicated in the passage of peripheral immune signals and circulation of immune cells into the central nervous system. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are patternrecognition receptors that play a crucial role in the recognition of pathogens and triggering of the innate immune response. In sheep, ten members of the TLR family have been identified and cloned. We used real-time PCR analyses to examine the profiles of TLR mRNA expression in the CP of cerebral ventricles in healthy adult ewes. The transcripts for all ten TLRs except TLR8 were present; however, we observed a high variation in the degree of expression of the TLR5 and TLR1 genes (coefficient of variation: 61% and 46%, respectively) as well as a moderate variation in the expression of the TLR4 (34%), TLR2 (27%) and TLR6 (26%) genes. The TLR9, TLR7, TLR3 and TLR10 genes were the four receptors with relatively invariable expression levels (coefficient of variation: 7%, 8%, 16% and 17%, respectively) across the six adult ewes. The concentration of cortisol in blood collected prior to sacrificing the ewes ranged from 0.18 to 78.9 ng/ml. There was no correlation between cortisol concentration and mRNA expression of any of the examined TLRs. These data suggest that the CP has the potential to sense the presence of many bacterial and viral components and mediate responses for the elimination of invading microorganisms, thereby protecting the brain.

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In this study, Staphylococcus aureus strains (n = 110) isolated from seven ewe flocks in Sanliurfa, Turkey were screened for antibiotic resistance and biofilmforming ability as well as for genes associated with antibiotic resistance and biofilm-forming ability. All isolates were found to be susceptible to oxacillin, gentamicin, clindamycin, cefoxitin, tetracycline, vancomycin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ciprofloxacin and sulphamethoxazole-trimethoprim. The percent proportions of strains resistant to penicillin G, ampicillin and erythromycin were 27.2% (n = 30), 25.4% (n = 28) and 6.3% (n = 7), respectively. Regarding the antibiotic resistance genes, 32 (29%) isolates carried the blaZ and 8 (7.2%) the ermC gene. Other resistance genes were not detected in the isolates. All isolates showed biofilm-forming ability on Congo red agar (CRA), while 108 (98.18%) and 101 (91.81%) of them were identified as biofilm producers by the use of standard tube (ST) and microplate (MP) methods, respectively. All isolates carried the icaA and icaD genes but none of them harboured the bap gene. The results demonstrated that S. aureus isolates from gangrenous mastitis were mainly resistant to penicillins (which are susceptible to the staphylococcal beta-lactamase enzyme), and less frequently to erythromycin. Furthermore, all of the S. aureus isolates produced biofilm which was considered a potential virulence factor in the pathogenesis of staphylococcal mastitis.

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exclusively for goat breeding. Each farm has 180–200 goats, all half-wild. The raw goat’s milk – mixed with a 20% maximum of ewe’s milk – is processed to make the artisanal Caprino d’Aspromonte cheese, a semi-hard or hard cheese made without the addition of

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