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Research Article

Study on the Changes in Enzyme and Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Concentrations in Blood Serum and Growth Characteristics of Velvet Antler during the Antler Growth Period in Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)


This study was conducted to investigate changes in blood enzyme parameters and to evaluate the relationship between insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), antler growth and body weight during the antler growth of sika deer (Cervus nippon). Serum enzyme activity and IGF-1 concentrations were measured in blood samples collected from the jugular and femoral veins at regular intervals during the antler growth period. Blood samples were taken in the morning from fasted stags (n = 12) which were healthy and showed no clinical signs of disease. Alfalfa was available ad libitum and concentrates were given at 1% of body weight to all stags. The experimental diet was provided at 9 am with water available at all times. There were no significant differences in alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase during antler growth, but alkaline phosphatase concentrations increased with antler growth progression, and the highest alkaline phosphatase concentration was obtained 55 days after antler casting. Serum IGF-1 concentrations measured from blood samples taken from the jugular vein during antler growth, determined that levels of IGF-1 was associated with body weight and antler growth patterns. Serum IGF-1 concentrations were higher at the antler cutting date than other sampling dates. Antler length increased significantly during antler growth (p<0.001), and there was a similar trend to between right and left beams. Body weight increased with antler growth but was not significant. Consequently it appeared that serum alkaline phosphatase concentration was related to antler growth and both antler growth and body weight were associated positively with IGF-1 concentrations during antler growth.