Post-glucose load changes of plasma key metabolite and insulin concentrations during pregnancy and lactation in ewes with different susceptibility to pregnancy toxaemia.J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2013; 97(5):971-85JA
Insulin resistance during late gestation may act as a predisposing factor of ovine pregnancy toxaemia (OPT). To evaluate the insulin action on energy metabolism in ewes with different susceptibilities to OPT, intravenous glucose tolerance tests (1 mmol glucose/kg body weight) were performed in 5.6 ± 0.7 year old, slightly underfed German Blackheaded Mutton ewes [high-risk (HR) ewes] and 2.5 year old, overnourished Finnish Landrace ewes [low-risk (LR) ewes] during mid and late pregnancy, during early lactation and during the dry period. Plasma samples were analysed for glucose, insulin, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB). The glucose elimination rate and the glucose-stimulated first-phase insulin secretion were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in the HR, in relation to the LR group combining the data of all gestational stages. The basal rate of lipolysis was significantly increased in the HR ewes during late pregnancy, but the NEFA clearance after the glucose load was similar in both groups during all reproductive stages. Plasma β-HB concentrations decreased only in the LR ewes after the glucose load during late pregnancy. Results indicate an insulin resistance in the HR ewes regarding the glucose utilization and the ketone body formation during late pregnancy. The insulin resistance in the HR ewes may represent one predisposing factor responsible for the susceptibility to OPT. Further scientific work is necessary to elucidate whether this insulin resistance was due to breed, age or nutritional state.