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J Anim Sci. 2014 Apr;92(4):1496-503. doi: 10.2527/jas.2013-6619. Epub 2014 Feb 3.

Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum on diarrhea and intestinal barrier function of young piglets challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli K88.

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College of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, P. R. China.


The present study was performed to investigate the preventative effect of Lactobacillus plantarum on diarrhea in relation to intestinal barrier function in young piglets challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) K88. Seventy-two male piglets (4 d old) were assigned to 2 diets (antibiotic-free basal diet with or without L. plantarum, 5 × 10(10) cfu/kg diet) and subsequently challenged or not with ETEC K88 (1 × 10(8) cfu per pig) on d 15 in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Feed intake and BW were measured on d 15 and 18 (3 d after challenge) for determination of growth performance. On d 18, 1 piglet from each pen was slaughtered to evaluate small intestinal morphology and expression of tight junction proteins at the mRNA and protein levels while another piglet was used for the intestinal permeability test. Before and after ETEC K88 challenge, piglets fed L. plantarum had greater BW, ADG, and ADFI (P < 0.05) and marginally greater G:F (P < 0.10) compared to piglets fed the unsupplemented diet. After ETEC K88 challenge, the challenged piglets did not show an impaired growth performance but had greater incidence of diarrhea compared to the nonchallenged piglets. There was an interaction between dietary L. plantarum and ETEC K88 challenge (P < 0.05) as L. plantarum prevented the ETEC K88-induced diarrhea. Piglets challenged with ETEC K88 also had greater urinary lactulose:mannitol and plasma concentration of endotoxin, shorter villi, deeper crypt depth, and reduced villous height:crypt depth in the duodenum and jejunum and decreased zonula occludens-1 mRNA and occludin mRNA and protein expression in the jejunum (P < 0.05). These deleterious effects caused by ETEC K88 were inhibited by feeding L. plantarum (P < 0.05). There were no effects of either treatment on the morphology and expression of tight junction proteins in ileum. In conclusion, L. plantarum, given to piglets in early life, improved performance and effectively prevented the diarrhea in young piglets induced by ETEC K88 challenge by improving function of the intestinal barrier by protecting intestinal morphology and intestinal permeability and the expression of genes for tight junction proteins (zonula occludens-1 and occludin).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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