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J Anim Sci. 1999 Dec;77(12):3191-200.

Effect of segregated early weaning on postweaning small intestinal development in pigs.

Author information

1
Animal Biotechnology Center, Department of Animal & Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Abstract

The effect of segregated early weaning (SEW) on postweaning small intestinal development was investigated in SEW and control (CON) pigs. Small intestines were collected from a total of 15 pigs killed at 11 (preweaning), 15 (3 d postweaning), and 34 d of age. At 3 d postweaning, the SEW and CON pigs had shorter villi (P<.01), deeper crypts (P<.01), and reduced (P<.01) ratios of villus height:crypt depth (V:C) compared with preweaning. Weaning also reduced specific activities of lactase (P<.01) in duodenum and ileum and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (P<.05) in duodenum and jejunum. Sucrase activity in the three regions of the small intestine marginally decreased in both groups at 3 d postweaning. The mucosal protein:DNA ratio in duodenum and jejunum increased (P<.05) in SEW and CON pigs at 3 d postweaning compared with preweaning pigs. The SEW and CON treatments resulted in differences in postweaning gut development. At 15 d of age in SEW pigs, the mucosal protein:DNA ratio in duodenum and jejunum were 20 and 25.5% (P<.05) less, respectively, than those in CON pigs. However, at 34 d, these ratios in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were 43.5 (P<.05), 24.3, and 32.9% (P<.05) greater, respectively, in SEW pigs than in CON pigs. Longer villi, shorter crypts (P<.01), and higher V:C ratios (P<.01) in jejunum and ileum were observed in SEW pigs vs CON pigs at 34 d of age. The specific activities of lactase in duodenum (P<.01) and jejunum (P<.05) and of ALP in duodenum (P<.01) were higher in SEW pigs. Sucrase activity in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum was 21.7, 46.3 (P<.05), and 11.2% greater in SEW pigs at 34 d of age. These results demonstrate differences in postweaning gut development between SEW and CON pigs. Furthermore, the number of intraepithelial lymphocytes in jejunum was greater (P<.001) in 34-d-old SEW pigs compared with CON pigs. Microscopy revealed a thick mucus coating over epithelial cells in the ileum of 34-d-old CON pigs that was not apparent in the SEW pigs. These observations are consistent with reduced pathogen exposure associated with SEW. We suggest that segregated early weaning advances postweaning gut maturation, which is consistent with improved growth and feed efficiency observed in SEW pigs.

PMID:
10641863
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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