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Artificial rearing influences the morphology, permeability and redox state of the gastrointestinal tract of low and normal birth weight piglets

Vergauwen, Hans, Degroote, Jeroen, Prims, Sara, Wang, Wei, Fransen, Erik, De Smet, Stefaan, Casteleyn, Christophe, Van Cruchten, Steven, Michiels, Joris, Van Ginneken, Chris
Journal of animal science and biotechnology 2017 v.8 no.1 pp. 30
apoptosis, artificial rearing, atrophy, birth weight, blood, caspase-3, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, euthanasia, glutathione peroxidase, high performance liquid chromatography, histology, liver, occludins, permeability, piglets, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, protein synthesis, small intestine, sows, tight junctions, villi
BACKGROUND: In this study the physiological implications of artificial rearing were investigated. Low (LBW) and normal birth weight (NBW) piglets were compared as they might react differently to stressors caused by artificial rearing. In total, 42 pairs of LBW and NBW piglets from 16 litters suckled the sow until d19 of age or were artificially reared starting at d3 until d19 of age. Blood and tissue samples that were collected after euthanasia at 0, 3, 5, 8 and 19 d of age. Histology, ELISA, and Ussing chamber analysis were used to study proximal and distal small intestine histo-morphology, proliferation, apoptosis, tight junction protein expression, and permeability. Furthermore, small intestine, liver and systemic redox parameters (GSH, GSSG, GSH-Px and MDA) were investigated using HPLC. RESULTS: LBW and NBW artificially reared piglets weighed respectively 40 and 33% more than LBW and NBW sow-reared piglets at d19 (P < 0.01). Transferring piglets to a nursery at d3 resulted in villus atrophy, increased intestinal FD-4 and HRP permeability and elevated GSSG/GSH ratio in the distal small intestine at d5 (P < 0.05). GSH concentrations in the proximal small intestine remained stable, while they decreased in the liver (P < 0.05). From d5 until d19, villus width and crypt depth increased, whereas PCNA, caspase-3, occludin and claudin-3 protein expressions were reduced. GSH, GSSG and permeability recovered in artificially reared piglets (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that artificial rearing altered the morphology, permeability and redox state without compromising piglet performance. The observed effects were not depending on birth weight.