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Effect of essential fatty acid and zinc supplementation during pregnancy on birth intervals, neonatal piglet brain myelination, stillbirth, and preweaning mortality

J. L. Vallet, L. A. Rempel, J. R. Miles, S. K. Webel
Journal of animal science 2014 v.92 no.6 pp. 2422-2432
biochemical pathways, blood, brain stem, cerebellum, correlation, dietary mineral supplements, essential fatty acids, estrus, farrowing, fetal death, gilts, heart, immunoglobulins, infant mortality, low birth weight, molecular weight, myelin basic protein, myelin sheath, myelination, neonates, piglets, postpartum interval, pregnancy, reproductive traits, slaughter, spinal cord, stomach, weaning, zinc, zinc sulfate
Omega fatty acids and zinc contribute to physiological pathways that could affect the farrowing process, stillbirth, preweaning mortality, and postweaning return to estrus. To determine effects of omega fatty acids and zinc on these reproductive traits, gilts were mated and fed either a control diet, a diet supplemented with 1.09% Gromega, a diet supplemented with 0.07% zinc sulfate, or a diet supplemented with both Gromega and zinc sulfate from d 80 of gestation until farrowing. Farrowings were video recorded to obtain birth intervals for each piglet, and the number of live and stillborn piglets was recorded. On d 1 after farrowing, piglets were weighed, and the smallest piglet in each litter was sacrificed. A blood sample was collected to measure the immunoglobulin immunocrit ratio, and brain, cerebellum, brain stem, full and empty stomach (to calculate stomach content weight), and heart weights were recorded. Because myelination of specific brain regions may affect preweaning mortality, brain stem, cerebellum, and spinal cord tissues were measured for content of myelin basic proteins and myelin lipids. For remaining piglets, survival to weaning and weaning weights were recorded. Results indicated a weak positive correlation (r = 0.23, P < 0.05) between immunocrit values and brain stem high molecular weight myelin basic protein. There was also a Gromega × zinc supplementation interaction (P < 0.05) on brain stem high molecular weight myelin basic protein in which the combined treatment was greater than the control or each supplement alone. Zinc treatment decreased stillbirth rate during prolonged farrowing and subsequent preweaning survival of low birth weight piglets. Gromega increased overall stillbirth rate and increased the stillbirth rate during prolonged farrowing. There were no relationships between myelin measurements and preweaning survival. In conclusion, combined Gromega and zinc supplementation appeared to improve myelination, but zinc alone improved stillbirth and preweaning survival.