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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Maternal Factors (Weight, Body Condition, Parity, and Pregnancy Rank) on Plasma Metabolites of Dairy Ewes and Their Lambs

School of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Cuenca, Avda. Doce de Octubre, 010220 Cuenca, Ecuador
Department of Animal Reproduction, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrarias y Alimentarias (INIA), Avda Pta. de Hierro s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Technical Department, Granja Cerromonte SL, 05358 San Juan de la Encinilla, Ávila, 05358, Spain
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), Avda. Pta. de Hierro s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Departamento Producción y Sanidad Animal, Salud Pública Veterinaria y Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos (PASAPTA), Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, Tirant lo Blanc, 7. 46115 Alfara del Patriarca Valencia, Spain
Technical Department, TRIALVET SL, C/ Encina 22, Cabanillas de la Sierra, 28721 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(4), 122;
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Management of Sheep and Goats)
The present study assessed the effects of maternal parity, weight, body condition score (BCS), and pregnancy rank (single vs. multiple) on maternal metabolism during pregnancy and subsequent lactation, as well as on lamb birth weight, perinatal viability, and metabolism. The results highlight the relevance of appropriate nutritional management to maintain maternal BCS and offspring metabolism within physiological ranges, allowing sheep to face the metabolic challenges of lactation and pregnancy. Adequate nutrition and management reduce the influence of maternal factors on offspring phenotype.
Pregnancy and lactation are challenging states that affect maternal and lamb health. In Lacaune dairy sheep, we evaluated the impact of parity, pregnancy rank, and body condition on body weight and the condition of ewes and lambs in mid-pregnancy (75 ± 5 d), in late pregnancy (142 ± 4d), and postpartum (52 ± 5d pp). Maternal age was associated with initial decreases, followed by increases, in body weight and condition. After lambing, both mature and maiden ewes lost weight and body condition. Maternal indices of glucose, protein, and lipid metabolism were within physiological values during pregnancy, but postpartum values depended on maternal parity and pregnancy rank, with multiple-pregnant ewes showing a postpartum increase in glucose and maiden sheep a postpartum increase in plasma cholesterol concentration. Male lambs were heavier than female lambs at birth, and lambs born to mothers with higher body condition scores were heavier. Lambs born as singletons were heavier than those born in litters. Maternal age and pregnancy rank did not influence lamb metabolic indicators. Sex affected plasma concentrations of glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Maternal metabolic indicators showed minimal effects on lamb phenotype. These results suggest that, when appropriately fed, dairy sheep can cover the metabolic demands of pregnancy and milk production, regardless of age and pregnancy rank. View Full-Text
Keywords: high milk yield; dairy sheep; pregnancy; age; metabolomics; body condition score; birth weight high milk yield; dairy sheep; pregnancy; age; metabolomics; body condition score; birth weight
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Pesántez-Pacheco, J.L.; Heras-Molina, A.; Torres-Rovira, L.; Sanz-Fernández, M.V.; García-Contreras, C.; Vázquez-Gómez, M.; Feyjoo, P.; Cáceres, E.; Frías-Mateo, M.; Hernández, F.; Martínez-Ros, P.; González-Martin, J.V.; González-Bulnes, A.; Astiz, S. Influence of Maternal Factors (Weight, Body Condition, Parity, and Pregnancy Rank) on Plasma Metabolites of Dairy Ewes and Their Lambs. Animals 2019, 9, 122.

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