Glutamine supplementation influences immune development in the newly weaned piglet

Glutamine in the weaning diets can favour a better immune status in piglets.
Thursday 8 November 2007 (10 years 5 months 18 days ago)
In the weaning period piglets are highly susceptible to infectious pathogens being the immunological immaturity one of the factors that negatively contributes to this susceptibility. Some works have evidenced that glutamine (glu) can reduce the infection or the infectious morbidity, due to the effects of glutamine on the health of the intestinal epithelial cells. Therefore the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding weaning pigs with glu on the immune function of the piglets.

An experiment was carried out with 30 weaned piglets (21 days). On the day of weaning a total of 10 animals were slaughtered and samples were collected to analyse the modifications on the immune cells in blood and intestine. The other 20 piglets were submitted to the experimental treatments, a control diet and the control diet supplemented with a 4% of glu. The experimental period lasted for 14 days, and at the end the piglets were slaughtered. Analysis carried out included the evaluation of the neutrophile function, isolation and phenotype identification of immune cells, estimation of proliferation response of immune cells isolated, and cytokine production.

Few modifications were reported in the phenotype of immune cells in blood, except that glu fed animals showed a lower proportion of total cells expressing CD45RA compared to control fed animals. In the same way, phenotype analysis of cells from mesenteric lymph nodes showed that glu fed animals had a lower IgA+ cells, and lower proportion of CD45RA+ cells compared to control. Proliferative response to lypopolisaccharide was lower in blood immune cells obtained from piglets fed glu compared to control fed piglets, and the production of IFN-γ was also lower in glu fed piglets when blood cells were stimulated with mitogens.

Supplementing the weaning diet with glu determined modifications in the immune cells in a potentially beneficial manner that may benefit the health status of the piglets at weaning.

Johnson, I.R., Ball, R.O., Baracos, V.E., Field, C.J. 2006. Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 30; 1191-1202

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