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Responses of plasma glucose metabolism to exogenous insulin infusion in sheep-fed forage herb plantain and exposed to heat

  • M. Al-Mamun (a1), K. Shibuya (a1), M. Kajita (a1), Y. Tamura (a2) and H. Sano (a1)...


The use of herbal plants as traditional medicines has a century long history. Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) is a perennial herb containing bioactive components with free radical scavenging activities. An isotope dilution technique using [U-13C]glucose was conducted to determine the effect of plantain on the responses of plasma glucose metabolism to exogenous insulin infusion in sheep. Six crossbred sheep (three wethers and three ewes; mean initial BW=40±2 kg) were fed either a mixed hay of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) (MH-diet) or mixed hay and fresh plantain (1 : 1 ratio, dry matter basis, PL-diet) and exposed to a thermoneutral (TN, 20°C; 70% relative humidity (RH)) environment or a heat exposure (HE, 30°C; 70% RH) for 5 days using a crossover design for two 23-day periods. The isotope dilution was conducted on days 18 and 23 of the experimental period during TN and HE, respectively. Plasma concentration of α-tocopherol was greater (P<0.0001) for the PL-diet than the MH-diet and remained comparable between environmental treatments. Plasma glucose concentration before isotope dilution technique was reduced for sheep (P=0.05) during HE compared with TN and remained comparable between diets. Plasma glucose turnover rate during the preinfusion period of insulin did not differ (P=0.10) between dietary treatments and between environments (P=0.65). The response of plasma glucose utilization to exogenous insulin administration was lower (P=0.04) for the PL-diet than the MH-diet. Under present experimental conditions, the plantain group was found to be resistant to the effects of insulin infusion.


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Present address: Department of Animal Nutrition, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh.



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