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Branched-chain Amino Acids are Beneficial to Maintain Growth Performance and Intestinal Immune-related Function in Weaned Piglets Fed Protein Restricted Diet
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 Title & Authors
Branched-chain Amino Acids are Beneficial to Maintain Growth Performance and Intestinal Immune-related Function in Weaned Piglets Fed Protein Restricted Diet
Ren, M.; Zhang, S.H.; Zeng, X.F.; Liu, H.; Qiao, S.Y.;
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As a novel approach for disease control and prevention, nutritional modulation of the intestinal health has been proved. However, It is still unknown whether branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) is needed to maintain intestinal immune-related function. The objective of this study was to determine whether BCAA supplementation in protein restricted diet affects growth performance, intestinal barrier function and modulates post-weaning gut disorders. One hundred and eight weaned piglets () were randomly fed one of the three diets including a control diet (21% crude protein [CP], CON), a protein restricted diet (17% CP, PR) and a BCAA diet (BCAA supplementation in the PR diet) for 14 d. The growth performance, plasma amino acid concentrations, small intestinal morphology and intestinal immunoglobulins were tested. First, average daily gain (ADG) (p<0.05) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) (p<0.05) of weaned pigs in PR group were lower, while gain:feed ratio was lower than the CON group (p<0.05). Compared with PR group, BCAA group improved ADG (p<0.05), ADFI (p<0.05) and feed:gain ratio (p<0.05) of piglets. The growth performance data between CON and BCAA groups was not different (p>0.05). The PR and BCAA treatments had a higher (p<0.05) plasma concentration of methionine and threonine than the CON treatment. The level of some essential and functional amino acids (such as arginine, phenylalanine, histidine, glutamine etc.) in plasma of the PR group was lower (p<0.05) than that of the CON group. Compared with CON group, BCAA supplementation significantly increased BCAA concentrations (p<0.01) and decreased urea concentration (p<0.01) in pig plasma indicating that the efficiency of dietary nitrogen utilization was increased. Compared with CON group, the small intestine of piglets fed PR diet showed villous atrophy, increasing of intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) number (p<0.05) and declining of the immunoglobulin concentration, including jejunal immunoglobulin A (IgA) (p = 0.04), secreted IgA (sIgA) (p = 0.03) and immunoglobulin M (p = 0.08), and ileal IgA (p = 0.01) and immunoglobulin G (p = 0.08). The BCAA supplementation increased villous height in the duodenum (p<0.01), reversed the trend of an increasing IELs number. Notably, BCAA supplementation increased levels of jejunal and ileal immunoglobulin mentioned above. In conclusion, BCAA supplementation to protein restricted diet improved intestinal immune defense function by protecting villous morphology and by increasing levels of intestinal immunoglobulins in weaned piglets. Our finding has the important implication that BCAA may be used to reduce the negative effects of a protein restricted diet on growth performance and intestinal immunity in weaned piglets.
Weaned Pig;Growth Performance;Immunity;Small Intestine;Morphology;Immunoglobulin;
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