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J Anim Sci. 1992 Jun;70(6):1873-87.

Interactive effects of dietary levels of tryptophan and protein on voluntary feed intake and growth performance in pigs, in relation to plasma free amino acids and hypothalamic serotonin.

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Station de Recherches Porcines, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, St-Gilles, France.


The effects of dietary level of tryptophan (TRP) and CP content and composition on voluntary feed intake, growth performance, and carcass characteristics in finishing pigs were studied in two experiments, with an equal number of females and castrated males. In Exp. 1, involving 120 Large White pigs from 44 to 99 kg BW with ad libitum access to feed, six treatments were compared according to a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement: 1) two levels of TRP (.09 and .13%), suboptimal and optimal for growth, respectively, 2) three types of CP supply (a 12.5% CP diet based on corn-soybean meal, and adequately balanced for essential amino acids [EAA] other than TRP; 15.7% CP diet with additional protein from corn gluten meal; 16.2% CP diet with additional nonessential amino acids [NEAA, in the form of L-glutamic acid.HCl and glycine], and the same levels of EAA as in the 12.5% CP diet. In Exp. 2, including four of the six previous factorial combinations (.09 and .13% TRP, 12.3 and 15.8% CP with additional protein), 32 pigs of 50-kg initial BW were used during 21 d, and further observations on meat quality characteristics, plasma free amino acid levels, and serotonin concentrations in the posterior hypothalamus were made. The major observed effects were interactions of different magnitude according to sex between TRP level and the amount and the composition of additional CP. At the suboptimal level of .09% TRP, the increase in protein content severely decreased daily feed intake and growth compared with the .13% level, especially in females. Conversely, the addition of NEAA at both TRP levels had little effect on daily feed intake and growth. Deficiency of TRP exerted a significant increase of pH in adductor femoris and semimembranosus muscles measured 45 min and 24 h postmortem, but only in females. Voluntary feed intake, as affected by dietary TRP and CP levels, was linearly related with concomitant changes in TRP to large neutral amino acids (TRP:LNAA) ratio both in feed and in plasma, which in turn was directly associated to hypothalamic serotonin concentration. It was concluded that an overly low concentration of serotonin in the hypothalamus, especially in females, as a result of TRP:LNAA imbalance, could be involved in the reduction of voluntary feed intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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