Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Each year a large percentage of newborn pigs succumb to disease due to stress and diminished immune function in the first 15 d of life. Preweaning mortality is prevalent within the first 10-15 d of life and represents a significant agricultural loss. The present study was designed to assess what effects, if any, the natural birth process has on the immune efunction of the neonatal pig. Pigs were delivered by natural birth (N; n=23) or Caesarian birth (C;n=22, nonsurgically jugular cannulated at 13 d, then challenged with LPS (150 ug/kg) on d 14. Serum concentrations of IFNg were assessed by utilizing a porcine specific IFNg ELISA following serial blood collection. Basal serum concentrations of IFNg at birth (n=45) were lower (P=0.0208) in the C group as compared to the N group (0.65+/0.53 and 106.1+/45.8 pg/ml, respectively). At 14 d basal serum concentrations of IFNg were lower (P=0.0153) in the C group (471.7+/126.0 pg/ml) as compared to the N group (723.0+/134.9 pg/ml) and both had increased dramatically (P<0.0001) from birth (52.17+/22.7 pg/ml) to 2 wk of age (584.07+/88.8 pg/ml). Serum concentrations of IFNg increased between 90 and 120 min post-LPS challenge in both birth types and continued to increase over the course of the study. There was no effect (P=0.371) of birth type on serum concentrations of IFNg for the LPS challenged pigs (1613.2+/581.0 and 1033.8+/221.0 pg/ml for the C and N groups, respectively). LPS challenge increased (P=0.0509) serum concentration of IFNg in both birth types compared to saline controls (1323.5+/330.8 and 630.5+/144.6 pg/ml, respectively). Our results indicate that the periparturient events associated with the natural birth process are involved with the postnatal development and function of the immune system in the pig.