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1.  Plasma metabolomic profiles and immune responses of piglets after weaning and challenge with E. coli 
The processes of weaning and exposure to pathogenic bacteria induce stress responses, which may alter the metabolism. In this study, we investigated the changes in plasma metabolites and immune responses in piglets in response to the stress induced by weaning and Escherichia coli challenge.
Fecal dry matter decreased (P = 0.003) and nearly half (44.4%) the piglets developed diarrhea on day 2 and 3 postweaning. The concentration of plasma immunoglobulin A was higher (P < 0.001) on day 11 postweaning than on day 0 or 4 postweaning. The levels of white blood cells increased continuously (P < 0.001) from day 0 to day 11 postweaning. Differences in the percentages of neutrophils (P = 0.029) and lymphocytes (P = 0.022) were seen, but the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio did not differ in the period after weaning. A clear separation of the metabolomic profile data for day 0 and day 4 postweaning was observed with a principal components analysis (PCA) scores plot, and the data for day 11 were located between those for day 0 and day 4 postweaning. The plasma levels of proline, taurine, and carnitine were higher, whereas those of betaine, creatine, L-arginine and acetylcarnitine were lower on day 4 postweaning than on day 0. Levels of lysophosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylcholine were either higher or lower after weaning, depending on the chain lengths or characters of these metabolites.
Our results show a clear separation in the plasma metabolomic profiles of piglets that corresponded to the fecal responses to stress on the piglets induced by weaning or exposure to a pathogen (E. coli). These plasma metabolite profiles suggest that the challenges induced proinflammatory responses in the piglets, resulting in postweaning diarrhea, which was associated with higher concentrations of IgA in the plasma.
PMCID: PMC3995590  PMID: 24624922
E. coli F18; Immunity; Metabolite; Piglet; Weaning
2.  Metabolomic phenotyping of a cloned pig model 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:14.
Pigs are widely used as models for human physiological changes in intervention studies, because of the close resemblance between human and porcine physiology and the high degree of experimental control when using an animal model. Cloned animals have, in principle, identical genotypes and possibly also phenotypes and this offer an extra level of experimental control which could possibly make them a desirable tool for intervention studies. Therefore, in the present study, we address how phenotype and phenotypic variation is affected by cloning, through comparison of cloned pigs and normal outbred pigs.
The metabolic phenotype of cloned pigs (n = 5) was for the first time elucidated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomic analysis of multiple bio-fluids including plasma, bile and urine. The metabolic phenotype of the cloned pigs was compared with normal outbred pigs (n = 6) by multivariate data analysis, which revealed differences in the metabolic phenotypes. Plasma lactate was higher for cloned vs control pigs, while multiple metabolites were altered in the bile. However a lower inter-individual variability for cloned pigs compared with control pigs could not be established.
From the present study we conclude that cloned and normal outbred pigs are phenotypically different. However, it cannot be concluded that the use of cloned animals will reduce the inter-individual variation in intervention studies, though this is based on a limited number of animals.
PMCID: PMC3174869  PMID: 21859467
3.  Influence of Dietary Zinc Oxide and Copper Sulfate on the Gastrointestinal Ecosystem in Newly Weaned Piglets 
Dietary doses of 2,500 ppm ZnO-Zn reduced bacterial activity (ATP accumulation) in digesta from the gastrointestinal tracts of newly weaned piglets compared to that in animals receiving 100 ppm ZnO-Zn. The amounts of lactic acid bacteria (MRS counts) and lactobacilli (Rogosa counts) were reduced, whereas coliforms (MacConkey counts) and enterococci (Slanetz counts, red colonies) were more numerous in animals receiving the high ZnO dose. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the colonies on MRS were dominated by three phylotypes, tentatively identified as Lactobacillus amylovorus (OTU171), Lactobacillus reuteri (OTU173), and Streptococcus alactolyticus (OTU180). The colonies on Rogosa plates were dominated by the two Lactobacillus phylotypes only. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis supported the observations of three phylotypes of lactic acid bacteria dominating in piglets receiving the low ZnO dose and of coliforms and enterococci dominating in piglets receiving the high ZnO dose. Dietary doses of 175 ppm CuSO4-Cu also reduced MRS and Rogosa counts of stomach contents, but for these animals, the numbers of coliforms were reduced in the cecum and the colon. The influence of ZnO on the gastrointestinal microbiota resembles the working mechanism suggested for some growth-promoting antibiotics, namely, the suppression of gram-positive commensals rather than potentially pathogenic gram-negative organisms. Reduced fermentation of digestible nutrients in the proximal part of the gastrointestinal tract may render more energy available for the host animal and contribute to the growth-promoting effect of high dietary ZnO doses. Dietary CuSO4 inhibited the coliforms and thus potential pathogens as well, but overall the observed effect of CuSO4 was limited compared to that of ZnO.
PMCID: PMC1087531  PMID: 15870311
4.  Effects of Physical Properties of Feed on Microbial Ecology and Survival of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium in the Pig Gastrointestinal Tract 
A two-by-two factorial experiment with pigs was conducted to study the effect of feed grinding (fine and coarse) and feed processing (pelleted and nonpelleted) on physicochemical properties, microbial populations, and survival of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT12 in the gastrointestinal tracts of pigs. Results demonstrated a strong effect of diet on parameters measured in the stomachs of the pigs, whereas the effect was less in the other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Pigs fed the coarse nonpelleted (C-NP) diet showed more solid gastric content with higher dry matter content than pigs fed the fine nonpelleted (F-NP), coarse pelleted (C-P), or fine pelleted (F-P) diet. Pigs fed the C-NP diet also showed significantly increased number of anaerobic bacteria (P < 0.05), increased concentrations of organic acids, and reduced pH in the stomach. In addition, pigs fed the C-NP diet showed increased in vitro death rate of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT12 in content from the stomach (P < 0.001). Pigs fed the C-NP diet had a significantly higher concentration of undissociated lactic acid in gastric content than pigs fed the other diets (P < 0.001). A strong correlation between the concentration of undissociated lactic acid and the death rate of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT12 was found. In the distal small intestine, cecum, and midcolon, significantly lower numbers of coliform bacteria were observed in pigs fed the coarse diets than in pigs fed the fine diets (P < 0.01). Pigs fed the C-NP diet showed the lowest number of coliform bacteria in these segments of the gastrointestinal tract. Pigs fed the coarse diets showed increased concentration of butyric acid in the cecum (P < 0.05) and colon (P < 0.10) compared with pigs fed the fine diets. It was concluded that feeding a coarsely ground meal feed to pigs changes the physicochemical and microbial properties of content in the stomach, which decreases the survival of Salmonella during passage through the stomach. In this way the stomach acts as a barrier preventing harmful bacteria from entering and proliferating in the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract.
PMCID: PMC427765  PMID: 15184147

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