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J Anim Sci. 2012 Dec;90 Suppl 4:34-6. doi: 10.2527/jas.53918.

Influence of fermentable carbohydrates or protein on large intestinal and urinary metabolomic profiles in piglets.

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Institute of Animal Nutrition, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.


It was recently shown that variations in the ratio of dietary fermentable carbohydrates (fCHO) and fermentable protein (fCP) differentially affect large intestinal microbial ecology and the mucosal response. Here we investigated the use of mass spectrometry to profile changes in metabolite composition in colon and urine associated with variation in dietary fCHO and fCP composition and mucosal physiology. Thirty-two weaned piglets were fed 4 diets in a 2 × 2 factorial design with low fCP and low fCHO, low fCP and high fCHO, high fCP and low fCHO, and high fCP and high fCHO. After 21 to 23 d, all pigs were euthanized and colon digesta and urine metabolite profiles were obtained by mass spectrometry. Analysis of mass spectra by partial least squares approach indicated a clustering of both colonic and urinary profiles for each pig by feeding group. Metabolite identification and annotation using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) metabolic pathways revealed increased abundance of metabolites associated with arachidonic acid metabolism in colon of pigs fed a high concentration of fCP irrespective of dietary fCHO. Urinary metabolites did not show as clear patterns. Mass spectrometry can effectively differentiate metabolite profiles in colon contents and urine associated with changes in dietary composition. Whether metabolite profiling is an effective tool to identify specific metabolites (biomarkers) or metabolite profiles associated with gut function and integrity needs further elucidation.

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