Research Article of International Journal of Animal Research
Is L-arginine or glucose dependence required for fetal growth, survival and maternal progesterone during late pregnancy in ewes?
M. M. Zeitoun
Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 6622, Qassim University 51452, KSA
This study aimed at investigating effects of drenching low and high dosage of L-arginine alone, combined with propylene glycol or propylene glycol alone during the eight weeks during late ewe’s gestation on the litter weight and survival at birth and maternal progesterone (P4). Thirty four adult Najdi ewes were randomly allotted into six groups (G). G1 (C, control, n=6) ewes orally given 50 ml physiological saline daily, G2 (LA, n=6) ewes given 50 ml containing 37.5 mg L-arginine/kg/day, G3 (HA, N=6) ewes given 50 ml containing 75 mg l-arginine/kg/day, G4 (P, n=6) ewes given 50 ml propylene glycol, G5 (LAP, n=5) ewes given 50 ml containing 25 ml propylene glycol and 25 ml LA and G6 (HAP, n=5) ewes given 50 ml containing 25 ml propylene glycol and 25 ml HA. Jugular blood samples for serum P4 were collected once a week from the beginning of treatment till parturition. At parturition litter size, litter weight, neonatal birth weight and viability were determined. Mean lamb birth weight was 3.75, 5.44, 5.72, 5.75, 7.33 and 5.6 kg in C, LA, HA, P, LAP and HAP, respectively. Survival rates at birth were 75, 87.5, 100, 83.3, 83.3 and 100% in C, LA, HA, P, LAP and HAP, respectively. The highest P4 level with typical profile was found in LAP ewes. In conclusion, administration of a combination of l-arginine (37.5 mg/kg/d) with propylene glycol during eight weeks of late sheep pregnancy not only enhanced fetal growth and survival of neonates but it also enhanced maternal corpus luteum function.
Keywords: Ewes, pregnancy, arginine, propylene glycol, fetal growth