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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of Intestinal Immunoglobulin Absorption and Enzyme Activities in Neonatal Pigs Is Diet Dependent

Authors
item Jensen, A - ROYAL VET AGRI DENMARK
item Elnif, J - ROYAL VET AGRI DENMARK
item Burrin, Douglas
item Sangild, P - ROYAL VET AGRI DENMARK

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 18, 2001
Publication Date: December 1, 2001
Citation: Jensen, A.R., Elnif, J., Burrin, D.G., Sangild, P.T. 2001. Development of intestinal immunoglobulin absorption and enzyme activities in neonatal pigs is diet dependent. Journal of Nutrition. 131(12):3259-3265.

Interpretive Summary: The intestinal absorption of antibodies in mother's milk is important for immunological protection of newborns. The amount of these antibodies is especially high in milk produced within the first few days of after birth, called colostrum. Sometimes young piglets cannot be fed their own mother's colostrum and instead must be fed colostrum from another animal species, such as the cow. The first aim of our study was to determine whether the intestinal absorption of antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, in newborn piglets fed colostrum from pigs and cows. The second aim was to examine the effect of feeding either pig plasma, bovine colostrum with added pig plasma or a cow's milk formula. In all feeding groups, the intestinal growth and digestive enzyme activity was similar. Despite this, however, we found that both pig and cow colostrum and cow colostrum with added pig plasma increased the intestinal absorption of immunoglobulins, whereas this process was markedly reduced in pigs fed cow's milk formula. The results suggest that feeding cow colostrum supplemented with pig plasma is a useful substitute for pig colostrum.

Technical Abstract: Uptake of colostrum just after birth is essential to stimulate intestinal growth and function, and in many species, including pigs, colostrum also provides immunological protection via the absorption of immunoglobulin G (IgG). In this study, intestinal growth, IgG absorptive capacity and enzyme activities were investigated in newborn pigs in response to different diets. Newborn piglets were bottle-fed porcine colostrum (PC), bovine colostrum (BC), porcine plasma (PP), porcine milk (PM), bovine colostrum containing porcine plasma (BCP) or a milk replacer (MR) every 3 h (15 mL/kg) for up to 2 d. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was added to the diets as a macromolecule marker. The percentage of absorbed BSA just after birth was highest for piglets fed the PC diet (30'50%), lower for those fed the BC and BCP diets (23'30%) and lowest for the PP, PM and MR diet-fed piglets (7'20%, P < 0.05 relative to those fed colostrum). Porcine IgG was absorbed more efficiently than bovine IgG. Intestinal closure occurred earlier in MR and BCP piglets (within 12 h after birth) than in PC pigs. At 2 d of age, intestinal mucosal weight (+120% increase from birth) and villus morphology were similar in the PC, BCP and MR groups. All 3 groups also had increased aminopeptidase A activity compared with values at birth (+100% increase). Compared with PC pigs, the BCP group had higher sucrase and maltase activities (+50% and +200%, respectively) and lower aminopeptidase N activity (-50%, P < 0.05). Similarly, MR pigs showed elevated sucrase activity (+40%) and lowered maltase, lactase and aminopeptidase N activities (-20% to -50%, P < 0.05) compared with PC pigs. We conclude that porcine and bovine colostrum contain factors that stimulate the intestinal endocytotic and enzymatic capacity in newborn pigs. A milk replacer can produce normal gut growth, but may be inefficient in mediating normal macromolecule transport and disaccharidase activity. Bovine colostrum mixed with porcine plasma proteins may be a useful substitute for porcine colostrum in artificial rearing of newborn pigs.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014