Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Early growth is an important determinant of gain and efficiency in growing pigs. A major limiting factor of piglet growth is feed intake. Orexins, newly discovered neuropeptides, may be important regulators of appetite. The orexin gene, which encodes orexin-A and -B, was recently identified in rodents and man. The objectives of this study were to clone the cDNA for porcine orexin, utilize the cDNA sequence information to produce synthetic hormone, and evaluate the effect of orexin administration on feed intake in weanling pigs. Oligonucleotide primers were designed for RNA-PCR production of porcine orexin cDNA. The PCR products were cloned into the pGEM-T vector (Promega Corp., Madison, WI). The cloned cDNA (GenBank AF075241) was found to be 88.5% homologous to the human orexin sequence. Predicted translation of porcine orexin cDNA revealed orexin-A and -B amino acid sequences that were 100% and 96% homologous to the known human peptides, respectively. Porcine orexin-B was synthesized according to the predicted sequence. Twenty-six cross-bred piglets (3 replicates; n=8-10/replicate) were weaned between 2-3 wk of age. One wk after weaning, equal numbers of animals received i.m. injections of orexin-B (3 mg/kg body weight) or vehicle (sterile water). Feed intake was monitored from -24 to 24 hr relative to injection. The orexin-injected pigs ingested an additional meal at 12 h when compared with the control animals (P=.01). Cumulative feed intake was increased by orexin-B administration from 12 to 24 hr post-injection (P<.05). Total feed intake at 24 hr was improved by 18% in orexin-treated pigs (P=.05). The ability to stimulate appetite during critical periods of early growth, particularly following weaning, could result in significant improvements in swine production efficiency.