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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357991

Research Project: Alternatives to Antibiotics: Developing Novel Strategies to Improve Animal Welfare and Production Efficiency in Swine and Dairy

Location: Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory

Title: Peripheral histamine and neonatal growth performance in swine

item Ramsay, Timothy
item Kahl, Stanislaw
item Long, Julie
item Summers, Katie

Submitted to: Domestic Animal Endocrinology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2019
Publication Date: 6/20/2019
Citation: Ramsay, T.G., Kahl, S., Long, J.A., Summers, K.L. 2019. Peripheral histamine and neonatal growth performance in swine. Domestic Animal Endocrinology.

Interpretive Summary: Slow growing pigs result in a 90-million-dollar loss to the swine industry each year. The metabolic factors responsible for poor pre-weaning growth rate in some normal birth weight pigs is not understood. Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland analyzed the composition of metabolites in blood using metabolomic techniques. Of more than 570 metabolites examined, only 36 metabolites differed in concentration between slow growing pigs and their normal growing litter mates (typical metabolomic analyses will reveal ~100 differences or more). One of these metabolites was identified as a potential biomarker that can be rapidly quantified in several hours. Histamine levels were 150% higher in slow growing litter mates than their normal growing siblings. Serum histamine was then evaluated in newborn pigs as a predictor of pre-weaning growth in collaboration with another USDA-ARS location. This work demonstrated that serum histamine in the newborn can be used as a predictor of pre-weaning growth. However, identification of histamine (and thus potential allergic responses in neonatal pigs that may impair growth) will allow improvements in breeding genetics to reduce or eliminate the incidence of allergen sensitivity in neonatal pigs; thereby permitting improved animal health, well-being and performance; thus benefiting the swine producer.

Technical Abstract: Identification of plasma/serum markers at birth that will predict animal performance may be useful for identifying animals susceptible to poor growth. Metabolomic analysis of plasma from newborn swine was used to identified potential metabolite differences between 8 pairs of littermates with similar birth weights but whose ADG differed by > 0.05 g/day, so that at weaning (21d) littermates differed in body weight by 1.62 kg (P < 0.01). Plasma analysis failed to identify metabolic pathways impacted by growth, most likely due to the small sample population. Interestingly, despite comparative analysis of 576 metabolites between these slow growing and normal growing littermates, the relative abundance of only 36 metabolites differed between the pairs. Most of these metabolites could be eliminated as potential markers due to the difficulty with the extraction and rapid measurement of their plasma/serum concentrations. Histamine differed from most of these potential metabolite markers in that commercial sandwich ELISAs are readily available. Using an ELISA, we verified the metabolomic data, demonstrating that plasma histamine concentrations differed by approximately 150% between slow growing and normal growing littermates of similar birth weight (P < 0.05). Subsequently, a separate data set was obtained from swine with a different geographical location and genetic background and also showed elevated histamine (ng/mL) at birth is associated with increased preweaning growth rate (P = 0.009, r = 0.306, n = 9 litters). Together, the data indicate that perinatal histamine concentrations may serve as a tool to identify potentially slower growing pigs and as a serum biomarker for predicting litter growth rate.