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Genetic selection for increased sow prolificacy has resulted in decreased mean piglet birth weight. This study aimed to investigate the effect of l-carnitine (CAR) supplementation to sows during gestation and/or lactation on sow productivity, semitendinosus muscle (STM) maturity and lifetime growth in progeny. Sixty-four sows were randomly assigned to one of the four dietary treatments at breeding until weaning: CONTROL (0 mg CAR/d), GEST (125 mg CAR/d during gestation), LACT (250 mg CAR/d during lactation) and BOTH (125 mg CAR/d during gestation and 250 mg CAR/d during lactation). The total number of piglets born per litter was greater for sows supplemented with CAR during gestation (17·3 v. 15·8 (sem 0·52); P < 0·05). Piglet birth weight (total and live) was unaffected by sow treatment (P > 0·05). Total myofibre number (P = 0·08) and the expression level of selected myosin heavy chain genes in the STM (P < 0·05) were greater in piglets of sows supplemented with CAR during gestation. Pigs from sows supplemented with CAR during gestation had lighter carcasses at slaughter than pigs from non-supplemented sows during gestation (83·8 v. 86·7 (sem 0·86) kg; P < 0·05). In conclusion, CAR supplementation during gestation increased litter size at birth without compromising piglet birth weight. Results also showed that the STM of piglets born to sows supplemented with CAR during gestation was more developed at birth. However, carcass weight at slaughter was reduced in progeny of sows supplemented with CAR during gestation. The CAR supplementation strategy applied during gestation in this study could be utilised by commercial pork producers to increase sow litter size and improve offspring muscle development.
In this paper, we present the first data from an alternative extraction method for atmospheric 14CO2 analysis, based on the direct trapping of whole air samples onto a molecular sieve zeolite (13X) trap, incorporated into a commercially available automated graphitization system. Results are presented for both inter-laboratory comparison samples and an in-house reference standard. The in-house reference was used to calculate the standard deviation of measurements (2.0‰). This newly developed method will facilitate faster sample processing and therefore lower cost per analysis, critical for scaling up such studies.
The identification of natural bioactive compounds which can prevent the post-weaning growth check and enhance gastrointestinal health in the absence of in-feed medications is an urgent priority for the swine industry. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects of increasing dietary inclusion levels of laminarin in the first 14 d post-weaning on pig growth performance and weaning associated intestinal dysfunction. At weaning, ninety-six pigs (8·4 (sd 1·09) kg) (meatline boars × (large white × landrace sows)) were blocked by live weight, litter and sex and randomly assigned to: (1) basal diet; (2) basal + 100 parts per million (ppm) laminarin; (3) basal + 200 ppm laminarin and (4) basal + 300 ppm laminarin (three pigs/pen). The appropriate quantity of a laminarin-rich extract (65 % laminarin) was added to the basal diet to achieve the above dietary inclusion levels of laminarin. After 14 d of supplementation, eight pigs from the basal group and the best-performing laminarin group were euthanised for sample collection. The 300 ppm laminarin group was selected as this group had higher ADFI compared with all other groups and higher ADG than the basal group (P < 0·05). Laminarin supplementation increased villus height in the duodenum and jejunum (P < 0·05). Laminarin supplementation increased the expression of SLC2A8/GLUT8 in the duodenum, SLC2A2/GLUT2, SLC2A7/GLUT7, SLC15A1/PEPT1 and FABP2 in the jejunum and SLC16A1/MCT1 in the colon. Laminarin supplementation reduced Enterobacteriaceae numbers in the caecum (P < 0·05) and increased lactobacilli numbers (P < 0·05), total volatile fatty acid concentrations and the molar proportions of butyrate (P < 0·01) in the colon. In conclusion, 300 ppm laminarin from a laminarin-rich extract has potential, as a dietary supplement, to improve performance and prevent post-weaning intestinal dysfunction.
Pork and pork products are recognised as vehicles of Salmonella Typhimurium infection in humans. Seaweed-derived polysaccharides (SWE) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) have shown to exhibit antimicrobial, prebiotic and immunomodulatory activity. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of dietary GOS and SWE supplementation on reducing S. Typhimurium numbers and intestinal inflammation in vivo. In total, 30 pigs (n=10/treatment, BW 30.9 kg) were randomly assigned to three dietary treatments: (1) basal diet; (2) basal diet+2.5 g GOS/kg diet; (3) basal diet+SWE (containing 180 mg laminarin/kg diet+340 mg fucoidan/kg diet). Following an 11-day dietary adaptation period, pigs were orally challenged with 108 colony-forming units/ml S. Typhimurium (day 0). Pigs remained on their diets for a further 17 days and were then sacrificed for sample collection. The SWE supplementation did not affect S. Typhimurium numbers on days 2 and 4 post-challenge but reduced S. Typhimurium numbers in faecal samples collected day 7 post-challenge (−0.80 log gene copy numbers (GCN)/g faeces) and in caecal and colonic digesta (−0.62 and −0.98 log GCN/g digesta, respectively; P<0.05) compared with the control treatment. Lactobacillus numbers were increased in caecal and colonic digesta after GOS supplementation (+0.70 and +0.35 log GCN/g digesta, respectively; P<0.05). In colonic tissue, both GOS and SWE supplementation resulted in reduced messenger RNA expression levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-22, tumour necrosis factor-α and regenerating islet-derived protein 3-γ (P<0.05). It can be concluded that dietary supplementation of SWE reduced faecal and intestinal S. Typhimurium numbers compared with the basal diet, whereas dietary GOS supplementation increased Lactobacillus numbers in caecal and colonic digesta but did not affect S. Typhimurium numbers. Supplementation of GOS and SWE reduced the gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in colonic tissue of pigs after the experimental S. Typhimurium challenge.
Feed efficiency is an important trait in the future sustainability of pig production, however, the mechanisms involved are not fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine nutrient digestibility, organ weights, select bacterial populations, volatile fatty acids (VFA’s), enzyme and intestinal nutrient transporter gene expression in a pig population divergent in feed efficiency. Male pigs (n=75; initial BW 22.4 kg SEM 2.03 kg) were fed a standard finishing diet for 43 days before slaughter to evaluate feed intake and growth for the purpose of calculating residual feed intake (RFI). Phenotypic RFI was calculated as the residuals from a regression model regressing average daily feed intake (ADFI) on average daily gain (ADG) and midtest BW0.60 (MBW). On day 115, 16 pigs (85 kg SEM 2.8 kg), designated as high RFI (HRFI) and low RFI (LRFI) were slaughtered and digesta was collected to calculate the coefficient of apparent ileal digestibility (CAID), total tract nutrient digestibility (CATTD), microbial populations and VFA’s. Intestinal tissue was collected to examine intestinal nutrient transporter and enzyme gene expression. The LRFI pigs had lower ADFI (P<0.001), improved feed conversion ratio (P<0.001) and an improved RFI value relative to HRFI pigs (0.19 v. −0.14 SEM 0.08; P<0.001). The LRFI pigs had an increased CAID of gross energy (GE), and an improved CATTD of GE, nitrogen and dry matter compared to HRFI pigs (P<0.05). The LRFI pigs had higher relative gene expression levels of fatty acid binding transporter 2 (FABP2) (P<0.01), the sodium/glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) (P<0.05), the glucose transporter GLUT2 (P<0.10), and the enzyme sucrase–isomaltase (SI) (P<0.05) in the jejunum. The LRFI pigs had increased populations of lactobacillus spp. in the caecum compared with HRFI pigs. In colonic digesta HRFI pigs had increased acetic acid concentrations (P<0.05). Differences in nutrient digestibility, intestinal microbial populations and gene expression levels of intestinal nutrient transporters could contribute to the biological processes responsible for feed efficiency in pigs.
The algal polysaccharides laminarin (LAM) and fucoidan (FUC) have potent anti-inflammatory activities in the gastrointestinal tract. Our objective was to examine the impact of prior consumption of LAM and/or FUC on pathology and inflammation following a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) challenge in pigs. Pigs (n 7/group) were assigned to one of five experimental groups for 56 d. From 49–55 d, distilled water or DSS was administered intragastrically. The experimental groups were: (1) basal diet + distilled water (control); (2) basal diet + DSS (DSS); (3) basal diet + FUC + DSS (FUC + DSS); (4) basal diet + LAM + DSS (LAM + DSS); and (5) basal diet + LAM + FUC + DSS (LAMFUC + DSS). The DSS group had decreased body-weight gain (P < 0·05) and serum xylose (P < 0·05), and increased proximal colon pathology score (P < 0·05), diarrhoeal score (P < 0·001) and colonic Enterobacteriaceae (P < 0·05) relative to the control group. The FUC + DSS (P < 0·01), LAM + DSS (P < 0·05) and LAMFUC + DSS (P < 0·05) groups had improved diarrhoeal score, and the LAMFUC + DSS (P < 0·05) group had improved body weight relative to the DSS group. The FUC + DSS group (P < 0·001), LAM + DSS group (P < 0·05) and LAMFUC + DSS group (P < 0·001) had lower IL-6 mRNA abundance relative to the DSS group. The LAM + DSS group had reduced Enterobacteriaceae in proximal colon digesta relative to the DSS group (P < 0·05). In conclusion, FUC or a combination of FUC and LAM improved body-weight loss, diarrhoeal scores and clinical variables associated with a DSS challenge in pigs, in tandem with a reduction in colonic IL-6 mRNA abundance.
The experiment investigated the effect of maternal dietary supplementation of seaweed-derived polysaccharides (SDP) (–SDP v. +SDP, n 20) from day 83 of gestation until weaning (day 28) on selected sow faeces and piglet digesta microbiota populations, piglet small-intestinal morphology, and intestinal nutrient transporter and inflammatory cytokine gene expression at birth, 48 h after birth and weaning. The effect of maternal dietary treatment on the piglet gene expression profile of inflammatory cytokines in the colon following a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge was also investigated. Dietary SDP reduced sow faecal Enterobacteriaceae gene numbers at parturition. Small-intestinal morphology, nutrient transporter and cytokine gene expression in newborn piglets did not differ between maternal dietary treatments (P > 0·10). At 48 h after birth, sodium–glucose-linked transporter 1 gene expression was down-regulated in the ileum of piglets suckling the SDP-supplemented sows compared with those suckling the basal sows (P = 0·050). There was a SDP × LPS challenge interaction on IL-1 and IL-6 gene expression in the colon of piglets (P < 0·05). The gene expression of IL-1 and IL-6 was down-regulated in the LPS-challenged colon of piglets suckling the SDP sows compared with those suckling the basal sows (P < 0·05). However, there was no difference in IL-1 and IL-6 gene expression in the unchallenged colon between treatment groups. At weaning, piglets suckling the SDP-supplemented sows had increased villus height in the jejunum and ileum compared with those suckling the basal-fed sows (P < 0·05). In conclusion, maternal dietary SDP supplementation enhanced the immune response of suckling piglets and improved gut morphology, making them more immune competent to deal with post-weaning adversities.
In the present study, a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement was conducted to investigate the effect of maternal supplementation with seaweed extracts ( − SWE v. +SWE, n 20) from day 83 of gestation until weaning (day 28) on post-weaning (PW) growth performance, faecal score, faecal enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) toxin quantification, intestinal histology and cytokine mRNA of unchallenged and ETEC-challenged pigs. Pigs were ETEC challenged on day 9 PW. There was a maternal treatment × challenge (SWE × ETEC) interaction effect on growth performance and faecal score (P< 0·05). Pigs from SWE-supplemented sows and ETEC-challenged (SE) had higher average daily gain (ADG) during 0–13 d PW and reduced faecal score during 0–72 h post-challenge than those from basal-fed sows and ETEC-challenged (BE) (P< 0·05). However, there was no difference between unchallenged pigs from the SWE-supplemented sows (SC) and basal-fed sows (BC) (P>0·10). Pigs from the SWE-supplemented sows had reduced heat-labile enterotoxin gene copy numbers than those from the basal-fed sows (P< 0·05). Maternal SWE supplementation increased the villus height in the ileum of pigs (P< 0·05). There was a SWE × ETEC interaction effect (P< 0·05) on IL-6 mRNA and a SWE × gastrointestinal (GI) region interaction effect (P< 0·05) on transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and TNF-α mRNA. IL-6 mRNA was down-regulated in SC pigs than BC pigs (P< 0·05). However, there was no difference in IL-6 mRNA between SE and BE pigs. The mRNA of TGF-β1 and TNF-α was down-regulated in the colon of pigs from the SWE-supplemented sows compared with those from the basal-fed sows (P< 0·05). However, there was no difference in TGF-β1 and TNF-α mRNA in the ileum between the pigs from the SWE-supplemented sows and basal-fed sows. In conclusion, maternal SWE supplementation improves ADG and the aspects of GI health of weaned pigs following an ETEC challenge.
Phytase (PHY) improves growth performance, nutrient digestibility and bone structure in pigs; however, little is known about its effects on intestinal nutrient transporter gene expression. In the present study, a 44 d experiment was carried out using forty-eight pigs (11·76 (sem 0·75) kg) assigned to one of three dietary treatment groups to measure growth performance, coefficient of apparent ileal digestibility (CAID), coefficient of apparent total tract nutrient digestibility (CATTD) and intestinal nutrient transporter gene expression. Dietary treatments during the experimental period were as follows: (1) a high-P (HP) diet containing 3·4 g/kg available P and 7·0 g/kg Ca; (2) a low-P (LP) diet containing 1·9 g/kg available P and 5·9 g/kg Ca; (3) a PHY diet containing LP diet ingredients+1000 phytase units (FTU)/kg of PHY. The PHY diet increased the average daily gain (P< 0·05) and final body weight (P< 0·01) and decreased the feed conversion ratio (P< 0·05) compared with the LP diet. Pigs fed the PHY diet had a higher CAID of gross energy compared with those fed the HP and LP diets (P< 0·001). Pigs fed the PHY diet had increased CAID of P (P< 0·01) and CATTD of Ca and P (P< 0·001) compared with those fed the LP diet. The PHY diet increased the gene expression of the peptide transporter 1 (PEPT1/SLC15A1) (P< 0·05) in the ileum compared with the LP diet. The LP diet decreased the gene expression of the sodium–glucose-linked transporter 1 (SGLT1/SLC5A1) and GLUT2/SLC2A2 (P< 0·05) and increased the expression of membrane Ca channel (TRPV6) and calbindin compared with the HP diet (P< 0·001). In conclusion, feeding a diet supplemented with PHY improves growth performance and nutrient digestibility as well as increases the gene expression of the peptide transporter PEPT1.
In the present study, two experiments were conducted to (1) evaluate the effect of laminarin and/or fucoidan on ileal morphology, nutrient transporter gene expression and coefficient of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of nutrients and (2) determine whether laminarin inclusion could be used as an alternative to ZnO supplementation in weaned pig diets. Expt 1 was designed as a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, comprising four dietary treatments (n 7 replicates, weaning age 24 d, live weight 6·9 kg). The dietary treatments were as follows: (1) basal diet; (2) basal diet+300 ppm laminarin; (3) basal diet+240 ppm fucoidan; (4) basal diet+300 ppm laminarin and 240 ppm fucoidan. There was an interaction between laminarin and fucoidan on the CTTAD of gross energy (GE) (P< 0·05) and the expression of sodium–glucose-linked transporter 1 (SGLT1/SLC5A1) and GLUT1/SLC2A1 and GLUT2/SLC2A2 (P< 0·05) in the ileum. The laminarin diet increased the CTTAD of GE and increased the expression of SGLT1, GLUT1 and GLUT2 compared with the basal diet. However, there was no effect of laminarin supplementation on these variables when combined with fucoidan. Expt 2 was designed as a complete randomised design (n 8 replicates/treatment, weaning age 24 d, live weight 7·0 kg), and the treatments were (1) basal diet, (2) basal diet and laminarin (300 ppm), and (3) basal diet and ZnO (3100 ppm, 0–14 d, and 2600 ppm, 15–32 d post-weaning). The laminarin diet increased average daily gain and gain:feed ratio compared with the basal diet during days 0–32 post-weaning (P< 0·01) and had an effect similar to the ZnO diet. These results demonstrate that laminarin provides a dietary means to improve gut health and growth performance post-weaning.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of animal management and farm facilities on total feed intake (TFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and mortality rate (MORT) of grower-finishing pigs. In total, 310 batches from 244 grower-finishing farms, consisting of 454 855 Pietrain sired pigs in six Spanish pig companies were used. Data collection consisted of a survey on management practices (season of placement, split-sex by pens, number of pig origins, water source in the farm, initial or final BW) and facilities (floor, feeder, ventilation or number of animals placed) during 2008 and 2009. Results indicated that batches of pigs placed between January and March had higher TFI (P=0.006), FCR (P=0.005) and MORT (P=0.03) than those placed between July and September. Moreover, batches of pigs placed between April and June had lower MORT (P=0.003) than those placed between January and March. Batches which had split-sex pens had lower TFI (P=0.001) and better FCR (P<0.001) than those with mixed-sex in pens; pigs fed with a single-space feeder with incorporated drinker also had the lowest TFI (P<0.001) and best FCR (P<0.001) in comparison to single and multi-space feeders without a drinker. Pigs placed in pens with <50% slatted floors presented an improvement in FCR (P<0.05) than pens with 50% or more slatted floors. Batches filled with pigs from multiple origins had higher MORT (P<0.001) than those from a single origin. Pigs housed in barns that performed manual ventilation control presented higher MORT (P<0.001) in comparison to automatic ventilation. The regression analysis also indicated that pigs which entered to grower-finisher facilities with higher initial BW had lower MORT (P<0.05) and finally pigs which were sent to slaughterhouse with a higher final BW presented higher TFI (P<0.001). The variables selected for each dependent variable explained 61.9%, 24.8% and 20.4% of the total variability for TFI, FCR and MORT, respectively. This study indicates that farms can increase growth performance and reduce mortality by improving farm facilities and/or modifying management practices.
Seaweed extracts (SWE) rich in laminarin and fucoidan have shown promise as a supplement for weaned piglets. However, successful application in pig nutrition depends on their bioactivity in the presence of additives such as ZnO. In the present study, a 2 × 2 factorial experiment was carried out to investigate the effect of the interaction between SWE and ZnO on the growth performance, digestibility and faecal characteristics of 192 weaned piglets (6·5 kg). The piglets were penned in groups of 4 (n 12 pens). The study consisted of two phases after weaning: a starter diet period from the day of weaning (0 d) to 21 d and a transition diet period from 21 to 40 d. The dietary treatments were as follows: (1) control diet; (2) control diet+ZnO; (3) control diet+SWE; (4) control diet+ZnO+SWE. Diets containing ZnO improved the faecal consistency of the piglets throughout the experimental period (0–40 d). An effect of the interaction between ZnO and SWE on several variable was observed. The diet containing only SWE or ZnO improved the feed conversion efficiency of the piglets during the transition diet period; however, this effect was not observed when the diet containing both ZnO and SWE was fed. The diet containing only SWE increased the N and organic matter digestibility of the piglets; however, this effect was not observed in the presence of ZnO. An interaction between ZnO and SWE was observed, whereby the faecal counts of Escherichia coli were decreased when piglets were fed the diet containing only SWE, but not when fed the diet containing both SWE and ZnO. In summary, SWE and ZnO improve growth performance when given alone, but not when given in combination. The biological effect of SWE on selected digestibility and faecal characteristics was markedly different when compared with that of ZnO.
A 2 × 2 factorial experiment was conducted to investigate the interactions between laminarin (LAM; 0 and 300 parts per million (ppm)) and fucoidan (FUC; 0 and 240 ppm) levels on intestinal morphology, selected microbiota and inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the weaned pig. There was an interaction between LAM and FUC supplementation on the Enterobacteriaceae population (P< 0·05) and the abundance of attaching and effacing Escherichia coli (AEEC) strains (P< 0·05) in the colon. Pigs offered the FUC diet had a reduced Enterobacteriaceae population compared with pigs offered the basal diet. However, the effect of FUC on the Enterobacteriaceae population was not observed when combined with LAM. Pigs offered the LAM diet had reduced abundance of AEEC strains compared with pigs offered the basal diet. However, there was no effect of LAM on the abundance of AEEC strains when combined with FUC. There was an interaction between LAM and FUC supplementation on villous height (P< 0·01) and the villous height:crypt depth ratio (P< 0·01) in the duodenum. Pigs offered the LAM or FUC diet had an increased villous height and villous height:crypt depth ratio compared with pigs offered the basal diet. However, there was no effect of the LAM and FUC combination diet on intestinal morphology. Pigs offered the LAM-supplemented diets had a lower IL-6 (P< 0·05), IL-17A (P< 0·01) and IL-1β (P< 0·01) mRNA expression in the colon compared with pigs offered the diets without LAM. In conclusion, supplementation with either LAM or FUC alone modified intestinal morphology and selected intestinal microbiota, but these effects were lost when offered in combination.
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of algal and yeast β-glucans on the porcine gastrointestinal microbiota, specifically the community of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and coliforms. A total of 48 pigs were fed four diets over a 28-day period to determine the effect that each had on these communities. The control diet consisted of wheat and soya bean meal. The remaining three diets contained wheat and soya bean meal supplemented with β-glucan at 250 g/tonne from Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborea or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Faecal samples were collected from animals before feeding each diet and after the feeding period. The animals were slaughtered the following day and samples were collected from the stomach, ileum, caecum, proximal colon and distal colon. Alterations in Lactobacillus in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were analysed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles generated by group-specific 16S rRNA gene PCR amplicons. Plate count analysis was also performed to quantify total coliforms. DGGE profiles indicated that all β-glucan diets provoked the emergence of a richer community of Lactobacillus. The richest community of lactobacilli emerged after feeding L. digitata (LD β-glucan). Plate count analysis revealed that the L. hyperborea (LH β-glucan) diet had a statistically significant effect on the coliform counts in the proximal colon in comparison with the control diet. β-glucan from L. digitata and S. cerevisiae also generally reduced coliforms but to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, the β-glucan diets did not significantly reduce levels of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. DGGE analysis of GIT samples indicated that the three β-glucan diets generally promoted the establishment of a more varied range of Lactobacillus species in the caecum, proximal and distal colon. The LH β-glucan had the most profound reducing effect on coliform counts when compared with the control diet and diets supplemented with L. digitata and S. cerevisiae β-glucans.
An experiment (complete randomised design) was conducted to investigate the effects of supplementing different molecular weights (MW) of chitooligosaccharide (COS) on pig performance, selected microbial populations and nutrient digestibility post-weaning. A total of 396 weaned piglets (24 days of age, 7.3 kg ± (s.d.) 1.7 kg live weight) were assigned to one of six dietary treatments (22 replicates/treatment) for a 33-day experimental period. The dietary treatments were as follows (1) control diet (0 ppm COS), (2) control diet plus <1 kDa COS, (3) control diet plus 3 to 5 kDa COS, (4) control diet plus 5 to 10 kDa COS, (5) control diet plus 10 to 50 kDa COS and (6) control diet plus 50 to 100 kDa COS. The COS were included at 250 ppm in the diets. There was no significant effect of dietary treatment on piglet performance during the starter period (days 0 to 18; P > 0.05). However, there were quadratic responses in both daily gain (P < 0.05) and gain to feed ratio (P < 0.05) to the increased MW of COS inclusion during the weaner period (days 18 to 33) with all COS-supplemented treatments improving daily gain and gain to feed ratio compared with the control. There was a quadratic response in faecal scoring to the increased MW of COS inclusion from days 0 to 7 (P < 0.001), days 7 to 14 (P < 0.001) and during the overall experimental period (P < 0.01) with all the COS-supplemented treatments having an improved faecal score compared with the control. During the weaner period, there was a cubic response in lactic acid bacteria and Escherichia coli populations as the MW of COS increased (P < 0.05). The 5 to 10 kDa and 10 to 50 kDa COS increased lactic acid bacteria populations compared with the control, whereas lactic acid bacteria populations decreased at 50 to 100 kDa. The 5 to 10 kDa, 10 to 50 kDa and 50 to 100 kDa COS decreased E. coli populations compared with the control. There was a cubic response in the apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter (DM; P < 0.01), organic matter (OM; P < 0.01), ash (P < 0.01), nitrogen (N; P < 0.01) and gross energy (GE; P < 0.01) to the increased MW of COS inclusion during the weaner period. The 5 to 10 kDa COS had a higher apparent total tract digestibility of DM, OM, ash, N and GE in comparison to the control, whereas the apparent total tract nutrient digestibility of these nutrients decreased at 10 to 50 kDa. The current results indicate that the MW ranges of 5 to 10 kDa and 10 to 50 kDa COS decreased E. coli numbers while increasing nutrient digestibility of the diets.
A single nucleotide polymorphism rs12807809 located upstream of the neurogranin (NRGN) gene has been identified as a risk variant for schizophrenia in recent genome-wide association studies. To date, there has been little investigation of the endophenotypic consequences of this variant, and our own investigations have suggested that the effects of this gene are not apparent at the level of cognitive function in patients or controls. Because the impact of risk variants may be more apparent at the level of brain, the aim of this investigation was to delineate whether NRGN genotype predicted variability in brain structure and/or function. Healthy individuals participated in structural (N = 140) and/or functional (N = 36) magnetic resonance imaging (s/fMRI). Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare gray and white matter volumes between carriers of the non-risk C allele (i.e., CC/CT) and those who were homozygous for the risk T allele. Functional imaging data were acquired during the performance of a spatial working memory task, and were also analyzed with respect to the difference between C carriers and T homozygotes. There was no effect of the NRGN variant rs12807809 on behavioral performance or brain structure. However, there was a main effect of genotype on brain activity during performance of the working memory task, such that while C carriers exhibited a load-independent decrease in left superior frontal gyrus/BA10, TT individuals failed to show a similar decrease in activity. The failure to disengage this ventromedial prefrontal region, despite preserved performance, may be indicative of a reduction in processing efficiency in healthy TT carriers. Although it remains to be established whether this holds true in larger samples and in patient cohorts, if valid, this suggests a potential mechanism by which NRGN variability might contribute to schizophrenia risk.
An experiment (complete randomised design) was conducted to investigate the effects of supplementing different molecular weights (MW) of chitooligosaccharide (COS) on intestinal morphology, selected microbial populations, volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations and the immune status of the weaned pig. A total of 28 piglets (24 days of age, 9.1 kg (± s.d. 0.80) live weight) were assigned to one of four dietary treatments for 8 days and then sacrificed. The treatments were (1) control diet (0 ppm COS), (2) control diet plus 5 to 10 kDa COS, (3) control diet plus 10 to 50 kDa COS and (4) control diet plus 50 to 100 kDa COS. The COS was included in dietary treatments at a rate of 250 mg/kg. Tissue samples were taken from the duodenum, jejunum and ileum for morphological measurements. Digesta samples were taken from the proximal colon to measure lactobacilli and Escherichia coli populations and digesta samples were taken from the caecum and proximal colon for VFA analysis. Gene expression levels for specific cytokines were investigated in colonic tissue of the pig. Supplementation of different MW of COS had no significant effect on pig performance during the post-weaning period (days 0 to 8; P > 0.05). The inclusion of COS at all MW in the diet significantly reduced faecal scores compared with the control treatment (P < 0.01). Pigs fed the 10 to 50 kDa COS had a higher villous height (P < 0.05) and villous height : crypt depth ratio (P < 0.05) in the duodenum and the jejunum compared with the control treatment. Pigs fed the 5 to 10 kDa COS had a lower lactobacilli population (P < 0.05) and E. coli population (P < 0.05) in the colon compared with the control group. Pigs offered the 5 to 10 kDa COS had significantly lower levels of acetic acid and valeric acid compared with the control group (P < 0.05). The inclusion of different MW of COS had no significant effect on the expression of the cytokines tumour necrosis factor-α, Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and IL-10 in the gastro-intestinal tract of the weaned pig. The current results indicate that a lower MW of 5 to 10 kDa COS possessed an antibacterial activity, while the higher MW of 10 to 50 kDa was optimum for enhancing the intestinal structure.
β-Glucans have been identified as natural biomolecules with immunomodulatory activity. The first objective of the present study was to compare the effects of purified β-glucans derived from Laminariadigitata, L. hyperborea and Saccharomyces cerevisiae on piglet performance, selected bacterial populations and intestinal volatile fatty acid (VFA) production. The second aim was to compare the gene expression profiles of the markers of pro- and anti-inflammation in both unchallenged and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged ileal and colonic tissues. β-Glucans were included at 250 mg/kg in the diets. The β-glucans derived from L. hyperborea, L. digitata and S. cerevisiae all reduced the Enterobacteriaceae population (P < 0·05) without influencing the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria populations (P>0·05) in the ileum and colon. There was a significant interaction between gastrointestinal region and β-glucan source in the expression of cytokine markers, IL-1α (P < 0·001), IL-10 (P < 0·05), TNF-α (P < 0·05) and IL-17A (P < 0·001). β-Glucans did not stimulate any pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokine markers in the ileal epithelial cells. In contrast, the expression of a panel of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1α, IL-10, TNF-α and IL-17A) was down-regulated in the colon following exposure to β-glucans from all the three sources. However, the data suggest that the soluble β-glucans derived from L. digitata may be acting via a different mechanism from the insoluble β-glucans derived from L. hyperborea and S. cerevisiae, as the VFA profile was different in the L. digitata-treated animals. There was an increase in IL-8 gene expression (P < 0·05) in the gastrointestinal tract from the animals exposed to L. digitata following an LPS ex vivo challenge that was not evident in the other two treatment groups. In conclusion, β-glucans from both seaweed and yeast sources reduce Enterobacteriaceae counts and pro-inflammatory markers in the colon, though the mechanisms of action may be different between the soluble and insoluble fibre sources.