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Interpretive Summary: Effects of mannan oligosaccharides and Lactobacillus mucosae on growth performance, immune response, and gut health of weaning pigs challenged with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharides

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

The use of prebiotics and antibiotic alternatives in pigs has been a recent hot-topic study. Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) have been shown to improve growth performance and nutrient digestibility in weanling pigs. In addition, some studies have indicated modulate gut inflammatory response and villus height, suggesting a potential prebiotic effect. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to investigate the effects of MOS, Lactobacillus mucosae (LM), and a combination of the two on growth performance, immune response, and gut health of weanling pigs challenged with E. Coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during the nursery period. 

Nursery pigs were allotted to four diets (control, MOS, LM, and MOS+LM). Results indicate that feeding MOS protects weanling pigs from E. coli LPS challenge by increasing the IgG concentrations. Although not seen in previous studies, the supplementation of MOS may induce an earlier maturation of humoral immunity in weanling pigs. Authors suggest that the response was due to pigs' different immune statuses and gut environmental conditions used in this study. Supplementation of LM may protect the pigs against acute inflammation by increasing production of IgA and thereby promoting circulating IgA concentration and facilitating absorptive nutrient rate by decreasing ileal CD and therefore increasing feed efficiency. Unfortunately, these effects were not observed when pigs were removed from the LPS challenge. 

In conclusion, the preliminary findings of the current study suggest that MOS can be used as a prebiotic to promote the maturation of IgG production in weanling pigs. Also, LM can be used as a probiotic to improve mucosal immunity, especially during acute inflammation. 

This article is available in the Journal of Animal Science.