Interpretive Summary: Body weight of newborn and suckling piglets affects their intestinal gene expression
By: Sandra Villagómez-Estrada, José F Pérez, Diego Melo-Durán, Francesc Gonzalez-Solè, Matilde D’Angelo, Francisco J Pérez-Cano, David Solà-Oriol
Under hyperprolific situations, piglets must deal with a reduced birthweight and a severe sibling competition for nutrients. Therefore, light body weight newborn and suckling piglets may also have physiological disadvantages compared to their middle-weight littermates. To further understand the impact that body weight has on piglets, the present study aimed to evaluate the degree of physiological weakness of the smallest piglets at birth and during the suckling period (20 d) compared to their middle-weight littermates through their jejunal gene expression. Newborn light piglets downregulated genes related to immunity, antioxidant, and digestive activities, but also a tendency to upregulate other genes related to inflammation and stress responses. At the end of the suckling period, those genes expression differences vanished while others appear. Light weight piglets showed lower expression of genes involved in barrier function, inflammation, and stress responses compared to their middle-weight littermates. At birth and at the end of lactation, light piglets seem to have a compromised intestinal gene expression for nutrient absorption, immune and stress responses compared to their heavier littermates.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.