The present experiment involved two different periods: 1) the suckling period from 4 d after birth until weaning at 28 d of age; and 2) the post-weaning period from d 29 to 40 (day of slaughter). Two different factors were studied: butyrate before weaning (BE) and butyrate after weaning (AF). The combination of these factors were defined as: pigs never supplemented with SB (CC), pigs supplemented only before weaning (BC), pigs supplemented only after weaning (CB) and pigs supplemented both before and after weaning (BB). A total of 32 piglets of same birth weights from 4 different litters were used. Milk intake for each animal was estimated during the suckling period from its growth rate. Two solutions were prepared for oral administration during the suckling period: 1) saline solution (9 g NaCl/L) for the control groups (CC and CB); and 2) SB solution (60 g/L) dissolved in saline solution for the SB groups (BC and BB). For the CB and BB groups, SB was introduced (3 g/kg) in 1 of these starter diets by replacing corn starch. The piglets from 2 litters were randomly killed 4 h after the last meal on d 11 and those from the remaining 2 litters on d 12 after weaning (d 39-40 of age).The number of parietal cells immunostained for H1/K1-ATPase, gastric endocrine cells immunostained for chromogranin A and somatostatin (SST) in the oxyntic mucosa, and gastrin-secreting cells in the pyloric mucosa was studied. Gastric muscularis and mucosa thickness were also measured. Expressions of the H1/K1-ATPase and SST type 2 receptor (SSTR2) genes in the oxyntic mucosa and of the gastrin gene in the pyloric mucosa were evaluated by real-time RT-PCR. The SB inclusion increased the number of parietal cells per gland regardless of the period of administration (P<0.05). SB addition after, but not before, weaning increased the number of enteroendocrine and SST-positive cells (P<0.01) and tended to increase gastrin mRNA (P<0.09). There was an interaction between the 2 periods of SB treatment for the expression of H/K-ATPase and SSTR2 genes (P<0.05). Butyrate intake after weaning increased gastric mucosa thickness (P<0.05) but not muscularis.
It is concluded that the SB orally used at a low dose affected gastric morphology and function, presumably in relationship with its action on mucosal maturation and differentiation.
M Mazzoni, M Le Gall, S de Filippi, L Minieri, P Trevisi, J Wolinski, G Lalatta-Costerbosa, JL Lallès, P Guilloteau and P Bosi. 2008. Journal of Nutrition. 138: 295-299.