Metabolic and growth response of mink (Neovison vison) kits until 10 weeks of age when exposed to different dietary protein provision

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Caroline Larsson, Rikke Fink, Connie Marianne Frank Matthiesen, Preben Dybdahl Thomsen, Anne-Helene Tauson

Growth performance and metabolism were investigated in mink kits (n = 210) exposed to the same dietary treatment as their dams (n = 30), i.e. high (HP; 61% of metabolisable energy, ME), medium (MP; 48% of ME) or low (LP; 30% of ME) protein supply, from birth until 10 weeks of age. The kits were weighed weekly, and were measured by means of balance experiment and indirect calorimetry, in weeks eight and nine post-partum (p.p.). At weaning (seven weeks p.p.) and 10 weeks p.p. one kit per litter was killed and blood, liver and kidneys were collected. Plasma amino acid profiles, and hepatic abundance of mRNA for phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), fructose 1,6-biphosphatase, pyruvate kinase and glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase) by q-PCR, were determined. There were no differences in live weights among kits the first four weeks of life when kits solely consumed milk, but male LP kits were the heaviest. After transition to solid feed MP kits weighed most at nine weeks of age (p < 0.05). At eight weeks of age, the kits fed the LP diet retained less (p < 0.05) N than HP and MP kits. Heat production did not differ among kits, although protein oxidation was higher (p < 0.001) in HP kits than in LP kits. Kits fed the LP diet had lower (p < 0.05) plasma concentrations of lysine, methionine and leucine than MP kits. Dietary treatment was not reflected in the relative abundance of any of the studied mRNAs, but kits had significantly lower abundance of all studied mRNA than their dams, ranging from 83% less PEPCK abundance to 40% less for G-6-Pase. The kidney mass was smallest (p < 0.01) in kits fed the LP diet, and liver masses were largest (p < 0.001) in HP kits. The results indicate that the LP diet did not meet the protein requirements for mink kits in the transition period from milk to solid feed. The capacity to regulate the rate of gluconeogenesis was even more limited in young mink kits than in adult dams. However, young mink kits can regulate protein oxidation in response to dietary protein supply, probably by adapting the size of the liver and kidneys to the level of protein supply.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Animal Nutrition
Volume66
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
ISSN1745-039X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 38105767