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Utilization of copper during lactation and neonatal development in muskoxen

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Abstract:

Post-natal availability of copper may affect survival of arctic ruminants such as muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), because neonates must develop rapidly before their first winter. We hypothesized that supplemental injections of Cu for lactating females would increase Cu in milk and in circulation within their offspring. Milk was low in Cu (<4 mg Cu·g–1 dry matter) but was not affected by Cu supplementation through peak lactation. Muskoxen are born with high concentrations of Cu in the liver but low activity of the Cu enzyme ceruloplasmin in serum. Levels of serum ceruloplasmin and Cu increase as neonates mature, reaching adult levels in late summer, but this transition coincides with poor growth and diarrhea. Reserves of Cu established in utero are likely depleted as metabolic processes mature and as young make the transition from a milk-based to a forage-based diet. Therefore, availability of trace minerals in utero and in autumn forages may influence the growth, immune function, and survival of young muskoxen in their first year.

La disponibilité du cuivre après la naissance peut affecter la survie de ruminants arctiques, tels que le boeuf musqué (Ovibos moschatus), car les nouveau-nés doivent croître rapidement avant leur premier hiver. Notre hypothèse veut que des injections d'un supplément de Cu aux femelles nourricières augmente la concentration de Cu dans le lait ainsi que la quantité de Cu en circulation chez leurs petits. Le lait contient peu de Cu (<4 mg Cu·g–1 de matière sèche) et n'est pas affecté par l'addition de Cu durant la période principale d'allaitement. Les boeufs musqués ont de fortes concentrations de Cu dans le foie, mais l'activité de l'enzyme à Cu, la céruloplasmine, dans le sérum est basse. La céruloplasmine et le Cu sériques des jeunes atteignent les niveaux des adultes en fin d'été, mais cette transition coïncide avec une période de croissance réduite et de diarrhée. Les réserves de Cu accumulées in utero sont probablement vite épuisées, alors que les processus métaboliques subissent une maturation et que les jeunes passent d'un régime lacté à une alimentation à base de fourrage. En conséquence, la disponibilité des métaux en traces in utero et dans le fourrage à l'automne peut influencer la croissance, la fonction immunitaire et la survie des jeunes boeufs musqués au cours de leur première année.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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