Interpretive Summary: Effects of iron, vitamin A, and the interaction between the two nutrients on intestinal development and cell differentiation in piglets
By Anne Zinn
A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science investigated the effects of iron, vitamin A, and their interaction on intestinal development and differentiation of cells in suckling piglets. The intestinal epithelium of piglets often changes significantly in the first month after birth; its development and function directly affects the absorption of nutrients. Iron supplementation in lactating sows has been shown to increase the pig’s birth weight and reduce mortality, resulting in an increase in piglet weight after weaning. Additionally, vitamin A is necessary for maintaining normal metabolism and function of the body. Evidence suggests that supplementation with iron and vitamin A can promote intestinal development. Therefore, the present study hypothesized that iron, vitamin A, and the interaction between the two nutrients would have an effect on intestinal development and cell differentiation in piglets. This hypothesis was tested by determining the indices of intestinal organs, intestinal morphology, intestinal enzyme activities, cell proliferation and differentiation as well as the related signaling pathways in piglets.
Overall, results of this study showed that iron, vitamin A, and the interaction between the two nutrients can promote intestinal development in piglets. It was shown that iron can affect cell proliferation and promote intestinal maturation by improving the morphology of the intestine. Additionally, results demonstrated that vitamin A stimulates intestinal development by promoting cell differentiation, regulating the expression of stem cell genes and modulating the related signaling pathways. However, results indicated that the interaction of vitamin A and iron affects intestinal development by improving intestinal morphology and promoting cell differentiation.
The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.