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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2007 Feb;91(1-2):19-28.

Assessment of zinc and copper status in weaned piglets in relation to dietary zinc and copper supply.

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1
Department of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark. dorthe.carlson@agrsci.dk

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the effect of weaning and the effect of increasing dietary zinc concentrations on the zinc and copper status of weaned piglets (study 1) and to study the effect of high concentrations of dietary zinc and/or copper on zinc and copper status of weaned piglets (study 2). Study 1 included 54 piglets (six litters of nine piglets). One piglet from every litter was killed 1 day before weaning. The remaining 48 piglets were allocated at weaning (28 days) to four dietary zinc treatments (100, 250, 1000 or 2500 ppm) and subsequently killed 1-2, 5-6 or 14-15 days after weaning. Study 2 included 48 piglets (six litters of eight piglets) allocated to four dietary treatments, consisting of low or high dietary zinc (100 or 2500 ppm) in combination with low or high dietary copper (20 or 175 ppm). All piglets in study 2 were killed 5-7 days after weaning. In both studies, the trace mineral status was assessed by zinc and copper concentrations and alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity in plasma and mucosal tissue. In study 2, lymphocyte metallothionein (MT) mRNA and intestinal mucosa MT mRNA concentrations were included as zinc status markers. The results showed that the zinc status, measured as zinc in plasma and mucosa, was not affected by weaning of the piglets. Plasma copper concentrations decreased during the first 2 weeks after weaning. High dietary copper concentrations did not affect the concentration of copper in plasma, but increased the concentration of copper in mucosa and the concentration of zinc in plasma. The dietary zinc treatments increased the zinc concentration in plasma as well as the zinc and MT mRNA concentration in mucosa. Lymphocyte MT mRNA concentrations did not reflect the differences in dietary zinc supplementation.

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