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Interpretive Summary: Effects of induced hindgut acidosis in growing pigs on growth, intestinal morphology and inflammation

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Increased fermentation of carbohydrates or protein in the hindgut leads to hindgut acidosis. Microbial byproducts produced in hindgut acidosis can lead to inflammation and damage the intestinal epithelium. Although it is important to identify hindgut acidosis, causes for failure to thrive and biomarkers to identify this condition are not well known. In this recent Journal of Animal Science article, researchers studied the health impacts of hindgut acidosis on growing pigs. Their goal was to identify associated biomarkers for metabolism, inflammation and intestinal health and growth. 

Hindgut acidosis was induced by continuously infusing glucose (GLC) or casein (CAS) into the terminal ileum of growing pigs. Pigs were separated into three groups and given either an infusion of water (control), dextrose 50% (GLC) or casein sodium salt (CAS). Average daily feed intake was reduced in GLC and CAS pigs compared to the control. However, average daily gain and final body weight were not affected. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) decreased with GLC pigs and increased with CAS pigs, neutrophils were increased in CAS pigs, monocytes decreased in both GLC and CAS pigs but were lowest in GLC pigs. Intestinal morphology and TNF-alpha (a proinflammatory cytokine) concentration were unaffected. 

The findings of this study suggest that rapid infusion of glucose or protein into the terminal ileum of pigs does provoke a minor immune response although average daily gain, final body weight, biomarkers of inflammation and intestinal morphology were unaffected in this study. The authors concluded that based on their findings, it is likely that hindgut acidosis is not responsible for disease but rather it is a symptom of another disease process in the digestive system. More comprehensive studies that investigate intestinal pathologies that may cause hindgut acidosis in pigs is justified. 

The original article, Effects of continuously infusing glucose or casein into the terminal ileum on biomarkers of metabolism, inflammation, and intestinal morphology in growing pigs, is viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.