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Effects of oral caffeine administration to sows with induced parturition on hypoxia in piglets

Superchi, Paola, Mazzoni, Claudio, Zanardelli, Paola, Piancastelli, Chiara, Zambini, Ernesto Mario, Beretti, Valentino, Sabbioni, Alberto
Livestock science 2013 v.157 no.1 pp. 372-377
biopterin, body weight, caffeine, diet, farrowing, hypoxia, oral administration, oxytocin, piglets, pregnancy, protective effect, sows, viability
To counteract the effects of perinatal hypoxia in piglets, the oral administration of caffeine to sows with induced parturition was evaluated. On day 113 of gestation 9 sows received 27mg/kg body weight (BW) of caffeine mixed with 200g of standard diet. The same amount of feed without the addition of caffeine was administered to 9 control sows. Additionally, on day 113 of gestation, all sows were treated by two injections in the perianal area of 1mg of alfaprostol (at 8:00 am and 14:00 pm), and on the morning of farrowing by 14IU of oxytocin in the perianal area. Caffeine did not affect BW of piglets and size of litters; however piglets from treated sows showed a higher capacity to adapt to extra-uterine life. Particularly, they showed a greater thermoregulatory ability (P<0.001) and a higher percentage of viability score≥7 compared to piglets from control sows (92% vs. 75%, respectively; P=0.030). Caffeine furthermore reduced the frequency of high serum biopterin values (>80nmol/L) in piglets born from treated sows (P=0.001). In conclusion, the caffeine orally administered to sows with induced parturition showed a protective effect on the consequences of neonatal hypoxia in tissue ischemia–reperfusion injury in piglets.