Submitted to: Developmental and Comparative Immunology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Newborn animals are born with naïve and underdeveloped immune systems. In mammals, a mother’s first milk (colostrum) contains several components that are critical to defense of the newborn against pathogens. These maternal immunity components include antibodies and immune cells that serve to protect young pigs while their own immune systems develop. Our findings demonstrate that both types of maternal immunity components targeting a key swine pathogen were found in the blood of suckling piglets. These immune components may influence immune development within the newborn piglet and have beneficial health consequences for piglets. This information will help guide veterinarians and pork producers who manage sow herds grow healthier pigs.
Technical Abstract: Immunoglobulins and immune cells are critical components of colostral immunity; however, their transfer to and function in the neonate, especially maternal lymphocytes, is unclear. Cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity in sow blood and colostrum and piglet blood before (PS) and after (AS) suckling were assessed to investigate transfer and function of maternal immunity in the piglet. CD4, CD8, and Gamma Delta lymphocytes were found in sow blood and colostrum and piglet blood PS and AS; each had a unique T lymphocyte profile. Immunoglobulins were detected in sow blood, colostrum, and in piglet blood AS; the immunoglobulin distribution in piglet serum AS mimicked that of sow serum. These results suggest selectivity in lymphocyte concentration into colostrum and subsequent lymphocyte transfer into the neonate, but that immunoglobulin transfer is unimpeded. Assessment of colostral natural killer activity and antigen-specific proliferation revealed that colostral cells are capable of influencing the innate and specific immune response of neonatal pigs.