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Adaptive capability as indicated by endocrine and biochemical responses of Malpura ewes subjected to combined stresses (thermal and nutritional) in a semi-arid tropical environment

Abstract

A study was conducted to assess the effect of combined stresses (thermal and nutritional) on endocrine and biochemical responses in Malpura ewes. Twenty eight adult Malpura ewes (average body weight 33.56 kg) were used in the present study. The ewes were divided into four groups viz., GI (n = 7; control), GII (n = 7; thermal stress), GIII (n = 7; nutritional stress) and GIV (n = 7; combined stress). The animals were stall fed with a diet consisting of 60% roughage and 40% concentrate. GI and GII ewes were provided with ad libitum feeding while GIII and GIV ewes were provided with restricted feed (30% intake of GI ewes) to induce nutritional stress. GII and GIV ewes were kept in climatic chamber at 40°C and 55% RH for 6 h a day between 1000 hours and 1600 hours to induce thermal stress. The study was conducted for a period of two estrus cycles. The parameters studied were Hb, PCV, glucose, total protein, total cholesterol, ACP, ALP, cortisol, T4, T3, and insulin. Combined stress significantly (P < 0.05) affected all parameters studied. Furthermore, the results revealed that, compared to thermal stress, nutritional stress had a less significant effect on the parameters studied. However, when both these stresses were coupled, they had a severe impact on all the parameters studied in these ewes. It can be concluded from this study that two stressors occurring simultaneously may impact severely on the biological functions necessary to maintain homeostasis in sheep.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are highly thankful to the Director of the Institute for providing the research facilities, and to Shri K.C. Sharma for his technical help during the experiment.

Ethical standards

The study was conducted after obtaining approval from the institute ethical committee for subjecting the animal to both thermal and nutritional stresses.

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Correspondence to Veerasamy Sejian.

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Sejian, V., Maurya, V.P. & Naqvi, S.M.K. Adaptive capability as indicated by endocrine and biochemical responses of Malpura ewes subjected to combined stresses (thermal and nutritional) in a semi-arid tropical environment. Int J Biometeorol 54, 653–661 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-010-0341-1

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Keywords

  • Malpura ewe
  • Thermal stress
  • Nutritional stress
  • Endocrine response
  • Biochemical parameter