Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 77–91 | Cite as

Microtus species as new herbivorous laboratory animals: Reproduction; Bacterial flora and fermentation in the digestive tracts; And nutritional physiology

  • H. Kudo
  • Y. Oki
Reviews

Abstract

In a study of the possible introduction of Japanese field vole (Microtus montebelli) and Hungarian voles (M. arvalis) as herbivorous experimental animals, the following biological characteristics were investigated: breeding and reproductive performance; bacterial flora and fermentation in the digestive tracts; and nutritional physiology. The animals are polyestrus, show postpartum estrus on the day of parturition, and there is little or no delay in implantation due to lactation, especially inM. arvalis. On examination of vaginal smears, Japanese field vole did not show any definite pattern, whereas most Hungarian voles showed 6- to 18- day cycles. From the esophageal sac of voles fed rations with a high fiber content, cellulolytic bacteria similar toRuminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, andBacteriodes succinogenes were isolated. More than 1000 000/g anaerobic bacteria were present in the esophageal sac and the pattern and the types of bacteria resembled those found in the rumen. Gastric fermentation took place in the esophageal sac. The pH and total VFAs were much smaller in the fundic and pyloric regions of the stomach than in the esophageal sac. Acetic and lactic acids were the major fermentation products in the esophageal sac. Following deficiency or lowering of the cellulose decomposing abilities, a decrease of VFAs and an increase in lactic acid production in the esophageal sac were observed. These effects resulted in high glucose, FFA and ketone bodies in the blood, and a higher incidence of glucosuria. Diabetes induced by administrations of drugs such as alloxan, streptozotocin and phloridzin were compared usingMicrotus and mice.Microtus had low sensitivity to alloxan but high sensitivity to streptozotocin. The influence of monensin onMicrotus was also investigated by using diets containing 20 and 80 mg/kg monensin. Diets containing 80 mg/kg monensin led to 50 % mortality in 7 weeks and growth was hindered. Gas production from the esophageal sac contents of voles in the monensin-medicated group was much smaller than that of the non-medicated group. In the monensin group the total VFA concentrations of the esophageal sac contents was decreased.

Keywords

Lactic Acid Streptozotocin Alloxan Bacterial Flora Lactic Acid Production 

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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Kudo
    • 1
  • Y. Oki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Physiological ChemistryNippon Veterinary and Zootechnical CollegeMusashino City, TokyoJapan

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