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The relevance of functional amino acids to support the health of growing pigs

Le Floc’h, Nathalie, Wessels, Anna, Corrent, Etienne, Wu, Guoyao, Bosi, Paolo
Animal feed science and technology 2018 v.245 pp. 104-116
amino acids, animal health, antioxidant activity, biochemical pathways, biosecurity, commercial farms, dietary recommendations, enterocytes, feeding methods, genotype, glutathione, hydrogen sulfide, immune response, inflammation, metabolism, nitric oxide, nutrients, pathogenesis-related proteins, phenotype, rearing, swine
On commercial farms, young growing pigs are frequently affected by health problems from multifactorial origins (e.g. environmental changes, biosecurity, management, and feed) that result in inflammation and activation of body defenses. Inflammation states alter animal metabolism in such a way that nutrients (particularly amino acids) are diverted from the use for growth towards the production of defense-related proteins and low-molecular-weight compounds (e.g., nitric oxide, H2S, and glutathione) for supporting the activity of rapidly dividing cells such as immune cells and enterocytes. Furthermore, amino acids may act specifically as signaling molecules to regulate metabolic pathways during inflammation. Thus, new knowledge on the specific role and metabolism of each amino acid is needed to refine nutritional recommendations for pigs of different phenotypes and genotypes, with the objective of maintaining animal health and performance under sub-optimal rearing conditions. This paper aims at summarizing recent advances in research on the functional roles of amino acids related to swine health. Specifically, the review highlights current knowledge on the impact of inflammation on the intake and metabolism of amino acids; their relevance for the physical gut mucosal barrier and antioxidant defense, as well as their roles in the syntheses of defense molecules and in the regulation of immune response. Practical implications for feeding strategies adapted to various health conditions of growing pigs are also discussed along with our general perspectives on related research.