Epidermal growth factor content in rabbit doe milk during the different lactation stages

Vachkova, B. Bivolarski
Abstract. The productivity in industrial rabbit farms could be increased by early weaning of the offspring. During the post natal development, the intestinal tract of neonates undergoes morphological and functional changes. These adaptation events are largely modulated by biologically active substances in milk secretion, such as the epidermal growth factor. Studies in humans, mice, rats, swine, sheep and cattle have shown that the colostrum and milk concentrations of this factor are species-specific. There are however no investigations on the content of epidermal growth factor during the different lactation stages in rabbit does. The present study aimed to establish the content of epidermal growth factor in rabbit doe milk during the different stages of lactation. The experiment was performed with 5 rabbit does for each period of lactation (post parturient hours 24 and 48, and post parturient days 3, 6, 16, 21 and 28). The concentrations of epidermal growth factors in rabbit doe milk ranged between 47.20–152 pg/ml. They were the lowest as compared to those obtained in men and other animal species. Nevertheless, it was established the highest concentrations were attained by the end of the lactation period. The early weaning of rabbits deprives them from epidermal growth factor in a period when its milk concentrations were the highest