Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 22, 2003
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Efforts have been underway for several years to identify nutritional supplements which can be utilized to enhance the immune system of young pigs. Our research efforts have focused primarily on the use of spray-dried animal plasma and fish oil as nutritional supplements which could provide immunological protection. We have demonstrated that the enhanced growth performance observed with the inclusion of spray-dried plasma in the diet of weaned pigs appears to be associated with immunological protection at the level of the intestinal mucosa. Providing this protection allows nutrients to be diverted away from maintenance of the immune system and towards growth, thus enhancing the overall productivity of the pig. With regard to the use of fish oil in the diets of weaned pigs, our data clearly demonstrate that fish oil supplementation reduces the secretion of various hormones and cytokines associated with the acute-phase response when pigs are challenged with an endotoxin. Therefore, these pigs appear to be better equipped to combat the detrimental effects associated with an endotoxin challenge. Unlike spray-dried plasma, the effect of fish oil is thought to be mediated via actions at the cellular level. Collectively, the data from our studies provide evidence that nutritional supplements can be effectively used to enhance the immune capabilities of the young pig. This information will be of particular interest to nutritional scientists, industry personnel, swine extension specialists, and swine producers.