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Summary

We investigated the biochemical composition of blood from Holstein cows, native breed (criollas), and cows descended from fighting bulls (Vacas de lidia) raised at an altitude of 3,000 m (moderately high altitude, mha), and compared the results with those from Holsteins and cows of similar genetic ancestry as the criollas (scrub cows), both raised at sea level (sl), to determine blood biochemical values characteristic of adaptation to high altitude. Only potassium and calcium concentrations were similar among groups. Glucose concentration was lower in mha cows, with the exception of Vacas de lidia. Serum bicarbonate concentration was lower in mha cows; this finding can be explained by hyperventilation in the hypoxic environment. Serum magnesium concentration was lower in sl and mha Holsteins than in other groups. Serum phosphate concentration was lower in scrub cows, mha Holsteins, and criollas than in other groups. Cholesterol concentrations were lower in sl Holsteins, whereas triglycerides were higher in scrub cows and mha Vacas de lidia. Concentration of high-density lipoprotein was significantly greater in Vacas de lidia and less in mha criollas than in the other groups. Uric acid and total protein were higher in mha groups. Using radioimmunoassay for human proteins, thyroxine-binding globulin was undetectable. Total and free thyroxine and free triiodothyronine were higher in scrub cows, followed by Vacas de lidia; lower values were detected in sl and mha Holsteins and mha criollas.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Summary

Gene frequencies of rbc antigens were determined in Holsteins and Colombian (criollas) cattle living at 3,000 m, and in cattle descended from fighting bulls (Vacas de lidia) living at 2,500 m. These frequencies were compared with those of Holsteins, cattle native to Florida (scrub cattle), longhorns, and native cattle from Brazil (caracu cattle) living at sea level. The criollas, Vacas de lidia, scrub cows, longhorns, and caracu are descendants of original Iberian stock introduced to the Americas. We found that despite common ancestry (scrub cattle, longhorns, criollas, and caracu), genetic differences may have been derived through years of demographic isolation. The most remarkable blood-group differences were found in the high prevalence of the B system phenogroup (heritable group of antigenic factors) BQA'G'34 in the Vacas de lidia, and of the S system phenogroup U1H' in these cattle and in caracu. Furthermore, the gene frequencies differed in the Holsteins maintained at moderately high altitude (descended from Holsteins kept at sea level), and may have been reflective of the need to adapt to moderately high altitude and chronic hypoxemic conditions. Blood group polymorphism was found in all groups of cattle, although it was reduced in the Vacas de lidia, possibly because their breeding has been carefully controlled and they appear to be highly inbred.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research