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Resistant starch (RS) was recently approved to exert a powerful influence on gut health, but the effect of RS on the caecal barrier function in meat ducks has not been well defined. Thus, the effect of raw potato starch (RPS), a widely adopted RS material, on microbial composition and barrier function of caecum for meat ducks was determined. A total of 360 Cherry Valley male ducks of 1-d-old were randomly divided and fed diets with 0 (control), 12, or 24 % RPS for 35 d. Diets supplemented with RPS significantly elevated villus height and villus height:crypt depth ratio in the caecum. The 16S rRNA sequence analysis indicated that the diet with 12 % RPS had a higher relative abundance of Firmicutes and the butyrate-producing bacteria Faecalibacterium, Subdoligranulum, and Erysipelatoclostridium were enriched in all diets. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were significantly increased in the 24 % RPS diet v. the control diet. When compared with the control diet, the diet with 12 % RPS was also found to notably increase acetate, propionate and butyrate contents and up-regulated barrier-related genes including claudin-1, zonula occludens-1, mucin-2 and proglucagon in the caecum. Furthermore, the addition of 12 % RPS significantly reduced plasma TNF-α, IL-1β and endotoxin concentrations. These data revealed that diets supplemented with 12 % RPS partially improved caecal barrier function in meat ducks by enhancing intestinal morphology and barrier markers expression, modulating the microbiota composition and attenuating inflammatory markers.
Both genetic selection and increasing nutrient density for improving growth performance had inadvertently increased leg problems of meat ducks, which adversely affects animal welfare. We hypothesised that slowing weight gain with improving tibia quality probably enhanced tibial mechanical properties and alleviated leg deformities. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the effect of graded Ca supplementation in a low-nutrient density (LND) diet on tibia composition and bone turnover in meat ducks. A total of 720 15-d-old male meat ducks were randomly assigned and fed a standard nutrient density positive control (PC) diet containing 0·9 % Ca, and four LND diets with 0·5, 0·7, 0·9 and 1·1 % Ca, respectively. Ducks fed the 0·5 % Ca LND diet and the PC diet had higher incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia (TD). When compared with the 0·5 % Ca LND diet, LND diets with ≥0·7 % Ca significantly improved tibia composition, microarchitecture and mechanical properties, and consequently decreased the incidence of TD. Furthermore, LND diets with ≥0·7 % Ca increased osteocyte-specific gene mRNA expression, blocked the expression of osteoblast differentiation marker genes including osteocalcin, collagenase-1 and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and also decreased the expression of osteoclast differentiation genes, such as vacuolar-type H+-ATPase, cathepsin K and receptor activator of NF-κB. Meanwhile bone markers such as serum ALP, osteocalcin (both osteoblast markers) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (an osteoclast marker) were significantly decreased in at least 0·7 % Ca treated groups. These findings indicated that LND diets with ≥0·7 % Ca decreased bone turnover, which subsequently increased tibia quality for 35-d-old meat ducks.
To determine the effects of dietary Fe concentration on Mn bioavailability in rats fed inorganic or organic Mn sources, fifty-four 22-d-old male rats were randomly assigned and fed a basal diet (2·63 mg Fe/kg) supplemented with 0 (low Fe (L-Fe)), 35 (adequate Fe (A-Fe)) or 175 (high Fe (H-Fe)) mg Fe/kg with 10 mg Mn/kg from MnSO4 or Mn–lysine chelate (MnLys). Tissues were harvested after 21 d of feeding. Serum Mn was greater (P<0·05) in MnLys rats than in MnSO4 rats, and in L-Fe rats than in A-Fe or H-Fe rats. Duodenal divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1) mRNA was lower (P<0·05) in H-Fe rats than in A-Fe rats for the MnSO4 treatment; however, no significant difference was observed between them for MnLys. Liver DMT1 mRNA abundance was greater (P<0·05) in MnSO4 than in the MnLys group for H-Fe rats. The DMT1 protein in duodenum and liver and ferroportin 1 (FPN1) protein in liver was greater (P<0·05) in the MnSO4 group than in the MnLys group, and in L-Fe rats than in H-Fe rats. Duodenal FPN1 protein was greater (P<0·05) in L-Fe rats than in A-Fe rats for the MnLys treatment, but it was not different between them for the MnSO4 treatment. Results suggest that MnLys increased serum Mn concentration as compared with MnSO4 in rats irrespective of dietary Fe concentration, which was not because of the difference in DMT1 and FPN1 expression in the intestine and liver.
Intra-uterine growth-retarded (IUGR) neonates have shown an impairment of postnatal intestinal development and function. We hypothesised that the immune function of IUGR neonates might be affected by increased nutrient intake (NI) during the suckling period. Therefore, we investigated the effects of high NI (HNI) on the growth performance, intestinal morphology and immunological response of IUGR and normal-birth weight (NBW) piglets. A total of twelve pairs of IUGR and NBW piglets (7 d old) were randomly assigned to two different nutrient-level formula milk groups. After 21 d of rearing, growth performance, the composition of peripheral leucocytes, serum cytokines and intestinal innate immune-related genes involved in the Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4–myeloid differentiation factor 88–NF-κB pathway were determined. The results indicated that IUGR decreased the average daily DM intake (ADMI) and the average daily growth (ADG). However, the ADMI and ADG were increased by HNI, irrespective of body weight. Likewise, serum cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β) and ileal gene expressions (TLR-4, TLR-9, TRAF-6 and IL-1β) were lower in IUGR piglets, whereas HNI significantly increased blood lymphocyte percentage and serum IL-10 concentrations, but decreased neutrophil percentage, serum IL-1β concentrations and ileal gene expressions (NF-κB and IL-1β). Furthermore, IUGR piglets with HNI exhibited lower serum concentrations of TNF-α and IL-1β than NBW piglets, and these alterations in the immune traits of IUGR piglets receiving HNI were accompanied by decreasing ileal gene expressions of TLR-4, TLR-9, NF-κB and IL-1β that are related to innate immunity. In conclusion, the present findings suggest that increased NI during the suckling period impaired the immune function of neonatal piglets with IUGR.
Preterm neonates show enhanced sensitivity to nutrient maldigestion and bacteria-mediated gut inflammatory disorders, such as necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). We hypothesised that preterm birth increases the sensitivity of intestinal nutrient absorption to endotoxins and that feeding after birth reduces this response. Hence, we investigated the postnatal development of nutrient digestive and absorptive capacity in the preterm and term pig intestine, and its responsiveness to endotoxins. Pigs were delivered by caesarean section at preterm (n 20) or term (n 17) gestation, and the small intestine was collected at birth or after 2 d of colostrum feeding, followed by ex vivo stimulation with lipopolysaccharide endotoxins and mixed gut contents collected from pigs with NEC. Brush border enzyme activities were reduced in newborn preterm v. term pigs (39–45 % reduction, P < 0·05), but normalised after 2 d of feeding. Ex vivo leucine and glucose uptake increased with prenatal age. Bacterial stimulation reduced the nutrient uptake similarly at birth and after 2 d in preterm and term pigs (23–41 % reduction, P < 0·05), whereas IL-6 and TNF-α expression was stimulated only at birth. Toll-like receptor-4 expression increased markedly at day 2 for preterm and term pigs (22–33-fold, P < 0·05) but with much lower expression levels in newborn preterm pigs (approximately 95 %, P < 0·01). In conclusion, digestive and absorptive functions mature in the prenatal period, but are similarly affected by postnatal feeding and bacterial exposure in both preterm and term pigs. Nutrient maldigestion may contribute to NEC development, while a prematurity-related hyper-responsiveness to endotoxins could be less important, at least in pigs.
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