Reporting temporal fluctuations of hepatic C16 and C18 fatty acids during late gestation and early lactation in dromedary camel

  • Amir AhmadpourEmail author
  • Rachael G. Christensen
  • Mousa Zarrin
  • Farhad Farjood
  • Ahmadali Ahmadpour
Regular Articles


Based on current knowledge, C16 and C18 fatty acids (FA) are considered the most functional FA in hepatic metabolism. Although these FAs have been satisfyingly investigated in cattle, other species such as camel have been neglected. For this reason, the current study was designed to scrutinize changing patterns of C16 and C18 FAs in 10 dromedary camels from the last 2 months of gestation to the first months of lactation. Camels were grazed on natural pasture and supplemented with a balanced ration. Liver biopsies were obtained through blind biopsy technique at about 60, 45, 30, and 15-day antepartum (AP), and at 3, 15, 30, 45, and 60 post-partum (PP). Data were analyzed by the ANOVA procedure of SPSS with repeated measurements. From 15-day AP, saturated FA content of the liver declined (P < 0.01) and 15-day PP reached its peak (P = 0.02). At 30-day PP it went down (P < 0.01), and re-elevated at 45-day PP (P < 0.01) but remained at a steady state for the duration of the study. Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated FA content of hepatic tissue were constant throughout AP, albeit observed to peak at 15-day AP compared with 45 (P = 0.04) and 30-day AP (P < 0.01) for mono-unsaturated FAs, and with 60-, 45-, and 30-day AP (P ≤ 0.01) for polyunsaturated FAs. The palmitic acid content of the liver reached a nadir at 30-day AP (P < 0.01), increased sharply (P < 0.01) at the next sampling time-point, and had a trend to escalate until 3-day PP. Palmitoleic acid levels were unchanged from 60- to 30-day AP, decreased at 15 AP and 3-day PP, increased at 15-day PP, then remained constant until the end of the study period (P ≤ 0.04). Stearic acid content started to grow at 15-day AP and reached its peak at 15-day PP (P < 0.01). At 30-day PP, stearic level in liver dropped abruptly (P < 0.01), then intensified at 45-day PP and did not change after; hepatic content of stearic acid was lower during AP compared with PP time-points. Other C18 FAs changed significantly during the study period. These results suggest that parturition could have a profound effect on FA composition and other metabolites in camel liver. Further research is required to establish the metabolic mechanism behind these changes.


Camel Palmitic Stearic Liver Temporal fluctuations Transition period 



The authors thank the expert technical assistance of SabzBavaran-e-NouAndish Co. for providing laboratory assistance and equipment. They also appreciate the clan of Jaàfârbiglou from Qashqaei Tribal Confederation for providing the animals and housing facilities.


This study was fully funded by the R&D grant from SabzBavaran-e-NouAndish Rural Co-op Company for research on physiological and nutritional improvement of the local dromedary camel herds (Shiraz, Fars, I.R. Iran; grant no. 229-707333-1/4).

Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures performed in the study involving camels were following the ethical standards of SabzBavaran-e-NouAndish Co. Policies on Experimental and Research Animal Rights (policy no. 73-336/1239-5).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Agricultural Research LaboratoryMandanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Animal SciencesYasouj UniversityYasoujIran
  4. 4.Department of Biological EngineeringUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  5. 5.Fars-IRIBShirazIran

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