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Blanco G.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Hornero-Mendez D.,CSIC - Instituto de la Grasa | Lambertucci S.A.,CONICET | Bautista L.M.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | And 5 more authors.

Among birds, vultures show low concentrations of plasma carotenoids due to the combination of their large size, general dull colouration and a diet based on carrion. We recorded the concentration of each carotenoid type present in plasma of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) according to age and sex, that determine colour signalling and dominance hierarchies in the carcasses. We compared the carotenoid profile in wild condors with that of captive condors fed with a controlled diet of flesh to test the hypothesis that wild individuals could acquire extra carotenoids from vegetal matter contained in carcass viscera and fresh vegetation. Wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were also sampled to evaluate the potential influence of colouration in the integument on absorption and accumulation patterns of plasma carotenoids. A remarkably higher concentration of lutein than β-carotene was found in wild condors, while the contrary pattern was recorded in American black vultures and captive condors. We found a consistent decrease in all plasma carotenoids with age, and a lower concentration of most xanthophylls in male compared to female wild condors. Positive correlations of all carotenoids indicated general common absorption and accumulation strategies or a single dietary source containing all pigments found in plasma. The comparatively low total concentration of carotenoids, and especially of lutein rather than β-carotene, found in captive condors fed with a diet restricted to flesh supports the hypothesis that Andean condors can efficiently acquire carotenoids from vegetal matter in the wild. Andean condors seem to be physiologically more competent in the uptake or accumulation of xanthophylls than American black vultures, which agrees with the use of colour-signalling strategies in sexual and competitive contexts in the Andean condor. This study suggests that vultures may use dietary vegetal supplements that provide pigments and micronutrients that are scarce or missing in carrion. © 2013 Blanco et al. Source

Blanco G.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Bautista L.M.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Hornero-Mendez D.,CSIC - Instituto de la Grasa | Lambertucci S.A.,CONICET | And 4 more authors.

Because large species ingest proportionally less food than small ones, it may be predicted that they should incorporate relatively fewer carotenoids to a proportionally equal volume of blood. However, some species may increase their levels of circulating carotenoids by ingesting unusual food. We tested whether the plasma concentration of carotenoids scales to the three-quarter power of mass in nine predatory and scavenger raptor species. No significant allometric relationships were found due to the unusually high concentrations of carotenoids in the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus and the Andean condor Vultur gryphus. To assess whether these two species deviate from the allometric rule through the exploitation of unusual sources of carotenoids, or due to a physiological adaptation to improve the uptake of carotenoids, we determined allometric patterns in individuals of these two species kept in captivity with an exclusive diet of flesh. Our results provided support for the allometric rule because the slope of the allometric equation did not differ from a three-quarter exponent when carotenoid levels of the two outliers were replaced by those of captive birds. This adjustment to the allometric rule suggests a lack of any physiological adaptation to improve the uptake of the low concentrations of carotenoids contained in flesh. Differences between species in carotenoid incorporation into the bloodstream may be ultimately due to contrasting evolutionary history, physiology and associated colour-signalling strategies, but proximately due to the acquisition of these micronutrients from both usual and unusual dietary sources. © 2014 British Ornithologists' Union. Source

Fernandez S.,University of Buenos Aires | Sestelo A.,Fund Acion Bioandina Argentina | Rivolta M.,Jardin Zoologico de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires | Cordoba M.,University of Buenos Aires
Zoological Science

The aim of this research was to evaluate two different diluents for sperm cryopreservation and to study functional parameters in relation to the response to heparin, lysophosphatidylcholine and progesterone, in frozen-thawed semen of fallow deer (Dama dama) during the reproductive season (brama). In this way, fallow deer can be used as a biological model of endangered cervids. Semen was obtained by electroejaculation. Heparin, progesterone and lysophosphatidylcholine were used as capacitation and acrosome reaction inducers, respectively. Capacitation and acrosome reaction were evaluated by chlorotetracycline epifluorescence technique (CTC), membrane integrity by Hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOS) and viability and acrosome integrity by trypan blue stain/DIC. Data was analyzed by ANOVA and Tukey Test (P < 0.05). Semen was cryopreserved in different diluents and Fructose-Tris-Glycine extender was selected. Capacitation with heparin at different incubation times determined that the highest capacitation percentage was obtained at 45 minutes incubation. Progesterone (1 ′M) and lysophosphatidylcholine in heparin capacitated sperm induced acrosome reaction (P < 0.05). This study contributes to improve cryopreservation methods and to increase the knowledge about capacitation and acrosome reaction in vitro in deer spermatozoa, allowing an advance in the development of reproductive biotechnologies. © 2013 Zoological Society of Japan. Source

Moro L.N.,University of Buenos Aires | Sestelo A.J.,Jardin Zoologico de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires | Salamone D.F.,University of Buenos Aires
Reproduction in Domestic Animals

The ICSI procedure is potentially of great value for felids, and it has not been extensively studied in these species. The objectives of this work were to determine the best conditions for ICSI in the domestic cat (DC) to generate interspecific embryos by injecting cheetah (Ch) and leopard (Leo) spermatozoa. Firstly, DC oocytes were matured with insulin-transferrin-selenium (ITS) or without it (MM) and cultured using atmospheric (21%) or low (5%) oxygen tension after ICSI. The group ITS-5%O2 showed the highest blastocyst rate (p < 0.05), 20.9% vs 8.7%, 7% and 6.5%, for MM-21%O2, MM-5%O2 and ITS-21%O2, respectively. The best conditions were used to generate the interspecific embryos, together with ionomycin activation (Io) after ICSI. Interspecific embryos resulted in high rates of blastocysts that were not positively affected by Io activation: 32.6% vs 21% for Ch and Ch-Io, 9.8% vs 21% for Leo and Leo-Io, and 20% vs 17.4% for DC and DC-Io. We also evaluated DNA-fragmented nuclei of experiment 1 and 2 blastocysts, using TUNEL assay. The fragmented nucleus proportion was higher in the ITS-5%O2 group, 67.6%. Surprisingly, interspecific blastocysts showed the lowest fragmented nucleus proportion: 27% and 29.9% for Ch and Leo, respectively. We concluded that ITS and 5%O2 improve blastocyst formation in DC, although with a concomitant increase in DNA fragmentation. Most importantly, cheetah and leopard spermatozoa were able to generate blastocysts without artificial activation, which suggests that developmental capacity of wild felid spermatozoa can be evaluated by interspecific ICSI. This technique should be used to assist wild felid reproduction. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Wiemeyer G.M.,Jardin Zoologico de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires | Wiemeyer G.M.,University of Buenos Aires | Lambertucci S.A.,CONICET | Bianchini L.T.,Jardin Zoologico de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires | And 2 more authors.
Zoo Biology

Electrocardiography is a useful tool when included in healthcare protocols and is increasingly utilized for monitoring wild birds. However, the lack of reference data for many species is limiting the clinical value of this technique. In this study 26 Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) coming from rehabilitation and captive breeding programs were examined to determine electrocardiographic references prior to being released. Standard bipolar (I, II, and III) and augmented unipolar limb (aVR, aVL, and aVF) leads were recorded with birds under physical restraint. Five beats were analyzed on Lead II at 50mm/sec and 1cm=1mV to determine QRS complex morphology, cardiac rhythm, heart rate, P, PR, R, S, QRS, T, QT, and ST amplitude and/or duration. P and T wave configuration was determined for all leads, and Mean Electrical Axis (MEA) in the frontal plane was determined using leads I and III. Cardiac rhythm corresponded to regular sinus rhythm in 42% of the birds, with a relevant rate of sinus arrhythmia in 58%, and rS as the most common pattern (42%) for QRS complex in lead II. We found an influence of age and heart rate but not of sex on several ECG waves and intervals. Relevant ECG findings for studied Andean condors include a high rate of Ta, R′, and U wave detection. Waves Ta and R′ were considered non-pathological, while the significance of U waves remains unclear. Our results provide a useful reference to improve clinical interpretation of full electrocardiographic examination in Andean condors. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

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