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Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 0102-0935On-line version ISSN 1678-4162

Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. vol.52 n.1 Belo Horizonte Feb. 2000 

Serum concentrations of creatine kinase and of triglycerides during lactation in gilts bred older and in multiparous sows fed ad libitum

(Concentração de creatina quinase (CK) e triglicerídeos sérico durante a lactação em leitoas cobertas tardiamente e porcas multíparas alimentadas ad libitum)


R.H.G. Nogueira, R.M.C. Guedes, J.C.A. Souza

Escola de Veterinária da UFMG
Caixa Postal 567
30123-970 – Belo Horizonte, MG


Recebido para publicação, após modificação, em 4 de agosto de 1999.




The aim of this paper was to assess the possible variation in blood concentrations of creatine kinase (CK) and triglycerides in gilts bred older in comparison with multiparous sows. Ten primiparous and ten Camborough multiparous sows from the fourth to seventh parities were used. Breeding age and weight of gilts averaged respectively 231 days and 149.5kg. All females were moved into individual farrowing crates and were managed under the same conditions. Blood samples were collected by puncturing the coccygeal artery on day 7 before expected farrowing, and on days 2, 7, 14, 21 of lactation and 2 days after weaning. No difference in triglycerides and CK serum concentrations between groups were observed. The CK levels were low before farrowing, increased substantially on days 2 and 7 and decreased toward the end of lactation. The concentrations of triglycerides were slightly high before the parturition, diminished on days 2, 7, 14 and 21 and increased after weaning.

Keywords: Sow, gilt, creatine kinase, triglyceride



O objetivo deste trabalho foi verificar as possíveis variações na concentração sangüínea de CK e de triglicérides em porcas primíparas cobertas tardiamente, em comparação com porcas multíparas. Foram utilizadas dez porcas primíparas e dez multíparas, com ordem de parição entre 5 e 7 anos, todas da linhagem Camborough. A cobrição efetiva das leitoas ocorreu na idade média de 231 dias, com 149,5kg. Todas as fêmeas foram alojadas em gaiolas individuais de parição e mantidas sob as mesmas condições. As amostras de sangue foram colhidas por punção da artéria coccígea 7 dias antes do parto previsto, nos dias 2, 7, 14 e 21 de lactação e 2 dias após o desmame. Não foi observada diferença significativa na concentração sérica de CK e de triglicérides entre os dois grupos. A concentração de CK foi baixa antes do parto, elevou-se substancialmente nos dias 2 e 7 de lactação e decresceu progressivamente até o final da lactação. A concentração de triglicérides foi ligeiramente maior antes do parto, diminuindo nos dias 2, 7, 14 e 21 da lactação, voltando a elevar-se após a desmama.

Palavras-chave: Porca, leitoa, creatina quinase, triglicéride




The use of serum CK, previously designated creatine phosphokinase, has offered a greater promise of organ specificity in diseases of muscle than many other enzyme determinations employed to date (Cardinet, 1989). CK is specific to skeletal and cardiac muscle and to the CNS, but it occurs in higher concentration in muscle so that elevated activity indicates recent muscle cell damage (Bradley & Done, 1992). This enzyme has been extensively studied among others basically to connect it to stress susceptibility in pigs (Addis et al., 1974; Schimidt et al., 1974). However, CK has not been examined as possible tool to detect muscle waste during lactation in sows. It is well known that mobilization during the lactation of significant amounts of protein from muscle is common in first litter sows.

The triglycerides are the main form of lipid in the animal body. They are transported between tissues bound to lipoproteins and are stored in adipose tissue as an energy reserve; its catabolism into CO2 is an important energy generator in the body. Decrease in serum concentration of triglycerides during the lactation was recorded in sows with high and low backfat, and high and low weight loss (Hultén et al., 1993; Rojkittikhun et al., 1993). The aim of this paper is to assess the possible variation in blood parameters of CK and triglycerides in gilts bred older in comparison with multiparous sows.



Ten gilts and ten Camborough multiparous sows from fourth to seven parities were used. Breeding age and weight of the gilts averaged respectively 231 days and 149.5kg. All females were moved into individual farrowing crates, under the same environmental and management conditions. During gestation, daily food intake was 2.4kg (sow diet: 2,962 kcal/kg, 16% crude protein) and during the lactation all sows were fed a wet diet (3,340 kcal/kg, 17% crude protein) ad libitum, three times a day. The piglets were cross-fostered within 72h after birth to minimize differences in litter size (range: 10-11). Body score, weight, backfat thickness at P2 site changes and weaning-to-oestrus interval (WOI) were registered in previous paper (Guedes & Nogueira, 1996). Blood samples were collected by puncturing the coccygeal artery on day 7 before expected farrowing and on days 2, 7, 14, 21 of lactation, and 2 days after weaning. The samples were taken 1 to 2h after the mid-day feeding and were centrifuged immediately after having clotted. Serum was kept at –20°C until the analyses were performed. For determinations of CK and triglycerides, UV test activated with NAC® and enzymatic colorimetric test® [Bioclin® - Quimbasa Ltda. Belo Horizonte, MG – Brasil] were respectively used. Statistical analysis was carried out considering two groups (primiparous vs multiparous sows), which were taken as parcels, and the time of sampling as subparcels. The final delineation was defined as subdivided parcels (2 ´ 6) with a fixed number of repetitions, but with variation according to the studied response (8 to 10 repetitions). The results were compared by the Student’s t test (groups in the same time and in the same group).



Significant changes in CK concentrations were observed over time (Table 1). Before farrowing the levels were low, increased sharply 2 days after farrowing, decreased at 7 days and remained low toward the end of lactation. However, no significant differences in CK were observed between groups (Table 1). The sharp increase in CK levels after farrowing seems to be related mainly to the "physiological damage" of uterine musculature and other related structures of the genital system. As in both groups the WOI was considered within the normal range (primiparous sows, 6.13 days and multiparous sows, 4.5 days) (Guedes & Nogueira, 1996), it seems reasonable to speculate that the catabolism in these sows was not so intense toward the end of lactation. However, the possible mobilization of muscle protein was not examined in this study, since the blood levels of creatinine and urea were not measured. So, it was not possible to verify any relationship between CK serum concentration and muscle protein mobilization.



The concentration of triglycerides was significantly increased at the end of gestation (–7d), diminished on day 2 and remained so thereafter, and increased significantly at weaning. No differences were observed between groups (Table 1). Diminished blood concentrations of triglycerides between day 7 before farrowing and day 2 of lactation has been found (Hultén et al., 1993). In this experiment, the difference may be due to higher amount fed during gestation and ad libitum feeding after farrowing. A considerable proportion of the triglycerides passing through mammary circulation is excreted and incorporated into milk components during lactation (Linzell & Mepham, 1969). This might explain the marked decrease in triglyceride concentrations observed at the onset of lactation (Hultén et al., 1993). On the other hand, the sharp increase after weaning certainly might be explained by the sudden drop in milk secretion and excretion.



Blood concentration of CK is not a useful characteristic to indicate muscle protein mobilization during lactation. As there were no differences between groups in both of the analyses performed, there is a indication that the metabolism of gilts when bred older may behave like adult sows.



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