Location: Livestock Behavior Research
Title: A role for serotonin in piglet preweaning mortality Authors
Submitted to: Joint Meeting of the ADSA, AMSA, ASAS and PSA
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2013
Publication Date: July 8, 2013
Citation: Dennis, R.L., Mcmunn, K.A., Lay Jr, D.C., Cheng, H. 2013. A role for serotonin in piglet preweaning mortality. Joint Meeting of the ADSA, AMSA, ASAS and PSA. Proceedings. Technical Abstract: Improving piglet survivability rate is of high priority for swine production as well as for piglet well-being. Dysfunction in the serotonin system has been associated with growth deficiencies, infant mortality or failure to thrive (FTT) in human infants. The aim of this study was to examine the role of serotonin in infant mortality and FTT in piglets. Umbilical blood was collected at birth from a total of 60 piglets from 16 litters for analysis of serotonin (5-HT) and tryptophan (the animo acid precursor to 5-HT) concentrations. Piglets were then followed for 48 h to determine early survival. Brain samples were also taken at 8 hours after birth from healthy and FTT piglets (n=4 per group). The raphe nucleus, the center for brain 5-HT biosynthesis, was dissected out and analyzed for 5-HT and 5-HIAA (a major metabolite of 5-HT) concentrations. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance using SAS 9.2 software. Piglets that died within 48 h of birth (n=14) had significantly lower umbilical blood 5-HT concentrations at the time of their birth compared to their healthy counterparts (n=46; P=0.003). However, no difference in tryptophan was detected (P=0.38). In the raphe nucleus FTT piglets had a higher concentration of 5-HIAA (P=0.02), and seemingly higher concentrations of 5-HT (P=0.07), compared with healthy piglets. Our results show evidence of serotonergic dysfunction, at both the central and peripheral levels, accompanying early piglet mortality. These data suggest a possible route for intervention, via the serotonin system, to improve piglet survivability. However, further research is required to validate this hypothesis.