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Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
Muscle fiber characteristics comprise a set of complex traits that influence the meat quality and lean meat production of livestock. However, the genetic and biological mechanisms regulating muscle fiber characteristics are largely unknown in pigs. Based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed on 421 Large White × Min pig F2 individuals presenting well-characterized phenotypes, this work aimed to detect genome variations and candidate genes for five muscle fiber characteristics: percentage of type I fibers (FIB1P), percentage of type IIA fibers (FIB2AP), percentage of type IIB fibers (FIB2BP), diameter of muscle fibers (DIAMF) and number of muscle fibers per unit area (NUMMF). The GWAS used the Illumina Porcine SNP60K genotypic data, which were analyzed by a mixed model. Seven and 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly associated with DIAMF and NUMMF, respectively (P < 1.10E-06); no SNP was significantly associated with FIB1P, FIB2AP or FIB2B. For DIAMF, the significant SNPs on chromosome 4 were located in the previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) interval. Because the significant SNPs on chromosome 6 were not mapped in the previously reported QTL interval, a putative novel QTL was suggested for this locus. None of the previously reported QTL intervals on chromosomes 6 and 14 harbored significant SNPs for NUMMF; thus, new potential QTLs on these two chromosomes are suggested in the present work. The most significant SNPs associated with DIAMF (ALGA0025682) and NUMMF (MARC0046984) explained 12.02% and 11.59% of the phenotypic variation of these traits, respectively. In addition, both SNPs were validated as associated with DIAMF and NUMMF in Beijing Black pigs (P < 0.01). Some candidate genes or non-coding RNAs, such as solute carrier family 44 member 5 and miR-124a-1 for DIAMF, and coiled-coil serine rich protein 2 for NUMMF, were identified based on their close location to the significant SNPs. This study revealed some genome-wide association variants for muscle fiber characteristics, and it provides valuable information to discover the genetic mechanisms controlling these traits in pigs.
Rumen-protected betaine (RPB) can enhance betaine absorption in the small intestine of ruminants, while betaine can alter fat distribution and has the potential to affect the meat quality of livestock. Hence, we hypothesized that RPB might also affect the meat quality of lambs. Sixty male Hu sheep of similar weight (30.47 ± 2.04 kg) were selected and randomly subjected to five different treatments. The sheep were fed a control diet (control treatment, CTL); 1.1 g/day unprotected-betaine supplemented diet (UPB); or doses of 1.1 g/day (low RPB treatment; L-PB), 2.2 g/day (middle RPB treatment; M-PB) or 3.3 g/day (high RPB treatment; H-PB) RPB-supplemented diet for 70 days. Slaughter performance, meat quality, fatty acid and amino acid content in the longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle, shoulder muscle (SM) and gluteus muscle (GM) were measured. Compared with CTL, betaine (including UPB and RPB) supplementation increased the average daily weight gain (ADG) (P < 0.05) and average daily feed intake (P < 0.01) of lambs. Rumen-protected betaine increased ADG (P < 0.05) compared with UPB. With increasing RPB doses, the eye muscle area of the lambs linearly increased (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, betaine supplementation decreased water loss (P < 0.05) in SM and increased pH24 in the SM (P < 0.05) and GM (P < 0.05). Compared with UPB, RPB decreased water loss in the GM (P < 0.01), decreased shear force (P < 0.05) in the LD and SM and increased the pH of the meat 24 h after slaughter (pH24). With increasing RPB doses, the shear force and b* value in the LD linearly decreased (P < 0.05), and the pH24 of the meat quadratically increased (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, betaine supplementation increased the polyunsaturated fatty acid in the GM (P < 0.05). Compared with UPB, RPB supplementation decreased the saturated fatty acid (SFA) content in the LD (P < 0.05) and increased the unsaturated fatty acids (UFA), mono-unsaturated fatty acids and UFA/SFA ratio in the LD (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, the content of histidine in the LD increased with betaine supplementation. Compared with UPB, RPB supplementation increased the content of total free amino acids and flavor amino acids in the LD of lambs (P < 0.05). With increasing RPB, the isoleucine and phenylalanine contents in the LD linearly increased (P < 0.05). Overall, the data collected indicated that the meat quality of lambs (especially in the LD) improved as a result of betaine supplementation, and RPB showed better effects than those of UPB.
Enhancing the supply of arginine (Arg), a semi-essential amino acid, has positive effects on immune function in dairy cattle experiencing metabolic stress during early lactation. Our objective was to determine the effects of Arg supplementation on biomarkers of liver damage and inflammation in cows during early lactation. Six Chinese Holstein lactating cows with similar BW (508 ± 14 kg), body condition score (3.0), parity (4.0 ± 0), milk yield (30.6 ± 1.8 kg) and days in milk (20 ± days) were randomly assigned to three treatments in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design balanced for carryover effects. Each period was 21 days with 7 days for infusion and 14 days for washout. Treatments were (1) Control: saline; (2) Arg group: saline + 0.216 mol/day l-Arg; and (3) Alanine (Ala) group: saline + 0.868 mol/day l-Ala (iso-nitrogenous to the Arg group). Blood and milk samples from the experimental cows were collected on the last day of each infusion period and analyzed for indices of liver damage and inflammation, and the count and composition of somatic cells in milk. Compared with the Control, the infusion of Arg led to greater concentrations of total protein, immunoglobulin M and high density lipoprotein cholesterol coupled with lower concentrations of haptoglobin and tumor necrosis factor-α, and activity of aspartate aminotransferase in serum. Infusion of Ala had no effect on those biomarkers compared with the Control. Although milk somatic cell count was not affected, the concentration of granulocytes was lower in response to Arg infusion compared with the Control or Ala group. Overall, the biomarker analyses indicated that the supplementation of Arg via the jugular vein during early lactation alleviated inflammation and metabolic stress.
In Canada, recreational use of cannabis was legalized in October 2018. This policy change along with recent publications evaluating the efficacy of cannabis for the medical treatment of epilepsy and media awareness about its use have increased the public interest about this agent. The Canadian League Against Epilepsy Medical Therapeutics Committee, along with a multidisciplinary group of experts and Canadian Epilepsy Alliance representatives, has developed a position statement about the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy. This article addresses the current Canadian legal framework, recent publications about its efficacy and safety profile, and our understanding of the clinical issues that should be considered when contemplating cannabis use for medical purposes.
Crystal structure and electronic structure of YMnO3 were investigated by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy related techniques. According to the density of states (DOS), the individual interband transitions to energy loss peaks in the low energy loss spectrum were assigned. The hybridization of O 2p with Mn 3d and Y 4d analyzed by the partial DOS was critical to the ferroelectric nature of YMnO3. From the simulation of the energy loss near-edge structure, the fine structure of O K-edge was in good agreement with the experimental spectrum. The valence state of Mn (+3) in YMnO3 was determined by a comparison between experiment and calculations.
Staphylococcus aureus has been recognised as one of the important zoonotic pathogens. However, knowledge about the epidemiology and genetic characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits was limited. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of 281 S. aureus isolated from dead rabbits of nine rabbit farms in Fujian Province, China. All the isolates were characterised by multi-locus sequencing typing, detection of virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility test. The results showed that the 281 isolates were grouped into two sequence types, ST121 (13.52%, 38/281) and ST398 (86.48%, 243/281). Surprisingly, the ST121 strains were only recovered from the lung samples from one of the nine rabbit farms studied. In the 281 isolates, the virulence genes of nuc, hla, hlb, clfA, clfB and fnbpA were positive, whereas the sea, seb, tsst, eta and etb genes were negative. Notably, the 38 ST121 isolates carried the pvl gene. All the 281 isolates were methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, and the isolates were susceptible to most of the used antibiotics, except for streptomycin, kanamycin, azithromycin and penicillin, and the resistance rates of which were 23.84%, 19.57%, 16.01% and 11.03%, respectively. This study first described the epidemiology and characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits in Fujian Province, which will help in tracking the evolution of epidemic strains and preventing the rabbit–human transmission events.
The gut is composed of a single layer of intestinal epithelial cells and plays important roles in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, immune and barrier functions and amino acid metabolism. Weaning stress impairs piglet intestinal epithelium structural and functional integrities, which results in reduced feed intake, growth rates and increased morbidity and mortality. Several measures are needed to maintain swine gut development and growth performance after weaning stress. A large body of evidence indicates that, in weaning piglets, glutamine, a functional amino acid, may improve growth performance and intestinal morphology, reduce oxidative damage, stimulate enterocyte proliferation, modulate cell survival and death and enhance intestinal paracellular permeability. This review focuses on the effects of glutamine on intestinal health in piglets. The aim is to provide evidentiary support for using glutamine as a feed additive to alleviate weaning stress.
This paper considers the integrated guidance and control (IGC) problem for impact angle constrained interception against manoeuvring targets with actuator saturation constraint. Based on the backstepping technique, an adaptive IGC law is presented to address this problem, where a fixed-time differentiator is proposed to estimate the derivatives of virtual control inputs to avoid the inherent problem of “explosion of complexity” suffered by the typical backstepping. Furthermore, an auxiliary first-order filter is introduced into the IGC law to cope with the actuator saturation constraint. The stability of the closed-loop system is strictly proved. Finally, the superiority of the proposed IGC law is verified by comparison simulations.
We generalise a result of Chern [‘A curious identity and its applications to partitions with bounded part differences’, New Zealand J. Math.47 (2017), 23–26] on distinct partitions with bounded difference between largest and smallest parts. The generalisation is proved both analytically and bijectively.
Rubber seed oil (RO) that is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA) can improve milk production and milk FA profiles of dairy cows; however, the responses of digestion and ruminal fermentation to RO supplementation in vivo are still unknown. This experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of RO and flaxseed oil (FO) supplementation on nutrients digestibility, rumen fermentation parameters and rumen FA profile of dairy cows. Forty-eight mid-lactation Holstein dairy cows were randomly assigned to one of four treatments for 8 weeks, including basal diet (CON) or the basal dietary supplemented with 4% RO, 4% FO or 2% RO plus 2% FO on a DM basis. Compared with CON, dietary oil supplementation improved the total tract apparent digestibility of DM, neutral detergent fibre and ether extracts ( P < 0.05). Oil treatment groups had no effects on ruminal digesta pH value, ammonia N and microbial crude protein ( P > 0.05), whereas oil groups significantly changed the volatile fatty acid (VFA) profile by increasing the proportion of propionate whilst decreasing total VFA concentration, the proportion of acetate and the ratio of acetate to propionate ( P < 0.05). However, there were no differences in VFA proportions between the three oil groups (P > 0.05). In addition, dietary oil supplementation increased the total unsaturated FA proportion in the rumen by enhancing the proportion of trans-11 C18:1 vaccenic acid (VA), cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) ( P < 0.05). These results indicate that dietary supplementation with RO and FO could improve nutrients digestibility, ruminal fermentation and ruminal FA profile by enhancing the VA, cis-9, trans-11 CLA and ALA composition of lactating dairy cows. These findings provide a theoretical basis for the application of RO in livestock production.
The fenofibrate functions in mammals could be affected by many factors such as dietary nutrient levels and physiological status. However, this phenomenon has not been well studied in fish. The goal of our study was to investigate the effect of dietary protein contents on metabolic regulation of fenofibrate in Nile tilapia. An 8-week experiment was conducted to feed fish with four diets at two protein levels (28 and 38 %) with or without the supplementation of fenofibrate (200 mg/kg body weight per d). After the trial, the body morphometric parameters, plasma biochemical parameters and quantitative PCR data were examined. These results showed that fenofibrate significantly reduced the feeding intake and weight gain rate, increased the oxidative stress (increased plasma methane dicarboxylic aldehyde) and liver : body ratio (increased hepatosomatic index) in the low protein (LP)-fed fish. In contrast, fenofibrate exhibited a lipid-lowering (reduced hepatic lipid) effect and up-regulated the expressions of the genes related to lipid catabolism, transport and anabolic metabolism in the high protein (HP)-fed fish. The present study suggested that lipid-lowering effect of fenofibrate would be strengthened in the fish fed with the HP diet containing high energy, but in the fish fed with the LP diet containing low energy, the fenofibrate treatment would cause adverse effects for metabolism. Taking together, our study showed that the metabolic regulation of fenofibrate in Nile tilapia was dependent not only on feed energy content but also on dietary nutrient composition, such as dietary protein and/or lipid levels.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
Triploid and pentaploid breeding is of great importance in agricultural production, but it is not always easy to obtain double ploidy parents. However, in fishes, chromosome ploidy is diversiform, which may provide natural parental resources for triploid and pentaploid breeding. Both tetraploid and hexaploid exist in Schizothorax fishes, which were thought to belong to different subfamilies with tetraploid Percocypris fishes in morphology, but they are sister genera in molecule. Fortunately, the pentaploid hybrid fishes have been successfully obtained by hybridization of Schizothorax wangchiachii (♀, 2n = 6X = 148) × Percocypris pingi (♂, 2n = 4X = 98). To understand the genetic and morphological difference among the hybrid fishes and their parents, four methods were used in this study: morphology, karyotype, red blood cell (RBC) DNA content determination and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR). In morphology, the hybrid fishes were steady, and between their parents with no obvious preference. The chromosome numbers of P. pingi have been reported as 2n = 4X = 98. In this study, the karyotype of S. wangchiachii was 2n = 6X = 148 = 36m + 34sm + 12st + 66t, while that the hybrid fishes was 2n = 5X = 123 = 39m + 28sm + 5st + 51t. Similarly, the RBC DNA content of the hybrid fishes was intermediate among their parents. In ISSR, the within-group genetic diversity of hybrid fishes was higher than that of their parents. Moreover, the genetic distance of hybrid fishes between P. pingi and S.wangchiachii was closely related to that of their parental ploidy, suggesting that parental genetic material stably coexisted in the hybrid fishes. This is the first report to show a stable pentaploid F1 hybrids produced by hybridization of a hexaploid and a tetraploid in aquaculture.
The Chinese white pine beetle Dendroctonus armandi (Coleoptera: Scolytinae) typically displays bivoltinism at altitudes below 1700 m in the Qinling Mountains, China. The periods of host colonization and larval overwintering are two important phases in the life cycle of bark beetles, as it is during these periods that they have to contend with host plant defences and periods of intense cold, respectively. Although during different seasons, the females and males of Chinese white pine beetles show varying tolerances to host plant terpenoids, the sex ratio and survival physiology condition of the two beetle generations are unknown. We investigated the sex ratio of individuals, and also examined the body mass, energy stores, and detoxication enzymes of males and females in each of the two generations in order to determine the overall population stability of each generation. We identified a female-biased sex ratio among adults in both generations. Furthermore, patterns of body mass, energy stores, and detoxication enzymes were found to differ between the two sexes and two seasons. Compared with the males, the females have a larger body mass and higher amounts of stored lipids, which are assumed to be adaptations designed to overcome host resistance and facilitate subsequent oviposition.
Guangxi, a province in southwestern China, has the second highest reported number of HIV/AIDS cases in China. This study aimed to develop an accurate and effective model to describe the tendency of HIV and to predict its incidence in Guangxi. HIV incidence data of Guangxi from 2005 to 2016 were obtained from the database of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network models, autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models, generalised regression neural network (GRNN) models and exponential smoothing (ES) were used to fit the incidence data. Data from 2015 and 2016 were used to validate the most suitable models. The model performances were evaluated by evaluating metrics, including mean square error (MSE), root mean square error, mean absolute error and mean absolute percentage error. The LSTM model had the lowest MSE when the N value (time step) was 12. The most appropriate ARIMA models for incidence in 2015 and 2016 were ARIMA (1, 1, 2) (0, 1, 2)12 and ARIMA (2, 1, 0) (1, 1, 2)12, respectively. The accuracy of GRNN and ES models in forecasting HIV incidence in Guangxi was relatively poor. Four performance metrics of the LSTM model were all lower than the ARIMA, GRNN and ES models. The LSTM model was more effective than other time-series models and is important for the monitoring and control of local HIV epidemics.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Alanyl-glutamine (Ala-Gln), a highly soluble and stable glutamine dipeptide, is known to improve gut integrity and function. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether dietary Ala-Gln supplementation could improve growth performance, intestinal development and digestive-absorption function in weaned piglets. A total of 100 purebred Yorkshire piglets weaned at 21 days of age were assigned randomly to four dietary treatment groups and fed a basal diet (control group) or a basal diet containing 0.15%, 0.30% and 0.45% Ala-Gln, respectively. Compared with the control group, piglets fed the Ala-Gln diets had higher average daily gain and lower feed : gain and diarrhea rate (P < 0.05). Moreover, dietary Ala-Gln supplementation increased villous height and villous height : crypt depth ratio in duodenum and jejunum (P < 0.05), as well as the activities of maltase and lysozyme in jejunum mucosa (P < 0.05). In addition, a decrease in serum diamine oxidase activity and crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum was observed in piglets fed the Ala-Gln diets (P < 0.05). Serum cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) concentration and gene expression of cPLA2, Na+-dependent glucose transporter 1, glucose transporter 2 and peptide transporter 1 in jejunum were increased by feeding Ala-Gln diets relative to control diet (P < 0.05). These results indicated that feeding Ala-Gln diet has beneficial effects on the growth performance of weaned piglets, which associated with maintaining intestinal morphology and digestive-absorption function.