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A study of bone resorption at a subcutaneous site in red deer stage (Cervus elaphus) : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) at Lincoln College

Jopson, N. B.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::0608 Zoology , ANZSRC::070202 Animal Growth and Development
Eight red deer stags had antler and femur bone sections implanted subcutaneously on the neck so that resorption of bone tissue at this site could be measured during periods of differing testosterone secretion status. Three bone sources were compared; namely femur and antler bone ('other') from an unrelated stag, and antler bone ('own') from the implanted stag. Four stags were implanted with a femur bone section plus one 'own' antler section and three 'other' antler bone sections and four stags received one femur and four 'other' antler bone sections. Resorption of antler bone sections was significantly higher during winter/spring (Period 2) than in autumn (the rutting season, Period 1); mean resorption 33.1% and 16.2% respectively. In the case of femur bone sections, resorption during the two periods was not different; means 3.0% and 1.8% respectively. Resorption of 'own' and 'other' antler bone did not differ significantly, but the limited number of observations and high variability for the 'own' antler may account for the lack of a difference between these bone sections. Serum testosterone levels were higher in period 1 than in period 2. Mean serum testosterone concentration was >18.08 ng/ml on 30 March (start of period 1), fell to 1.41 ng/ml by 11 May (end of period 1) and remained around that level for the remainder of the trial (Period 2). These results indicate that antler bone, but not femur bone, is resorbed from a subcutaneous site, but the resorption is impaired when blood testosterone levels are elevated.
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