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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016 Dec;63(6):698-707.

Doxorubicin-Induced Gut Toxicity in Piglets Fed Bovine Milk and Colostrum.

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*Section of Comparative Pediatrics and Nutrition, Department of Clinical Veterinary and Animal Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen †Hans Christian Andersen Children's Hospital, Odense University Hospital, Odense ‡National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby §Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine ||Institute of Inflammation Research, Department of Rheumatology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.



Chemotherapy-induced intestinal toxicity is a common adverse effect of cancer treatment. We hypothesized that a milk diet containing bovine colostrum (BC) would reduce intestinal toxicity in doxorubicin-treated piglets.


"Study 1" investigated intestinal parameters 9 days after a single dose of doxorubicin (1 × 75 mg/m) in piglets fed bovine milk enriched with whey protein (BM). In "study 2," responses to doxorubicin treatment were investigated in piglets receiving either 7 BC feedings per day (Only-BC, n = 13), 4 BC feedings (High-BC, n = 13), 2 BC feedings (Low-BC, n = 14), or no BC (only BM, n = 13).


Doxorubicin treatment induced clinical signs of intestinal toxicity with diarrhea and weight loss, relative to controls (P < 0.05). White blood cells, hexose absorptive function, plasma citrulline, weights of intestine, colon, and spleen were reduced, whereas gut permeability and plasma C-reactive protein levels were increased (all P < 0.05). Limited or no effects were observed for digestive enzymes, proinflammatory cytokines, or tight-junction proteins in the intestine. Increasing BC supplementation to doxorubicin-treated piglets (study 2) had no consistent effects on plasma C-reactive protein and citrulline levels, intestinal morphology, digestive enzymes, permeability, or proinflammatory cytokines. Only-BC pigs, however, had lower diarrhea severity toward the end of the experiment (P < 0.05 vs BM) and across the BC groups, intestinal toxicity was reduced (P < 0.01).


Doxorubicin-treated piglets are relevant for studying chemotherapy-induced gut toxicity. Colostrum supplementation had limited effects on doxorubicin-induced toxicity in milk-fed piglets suggesting that colostrum and a bovine milk diet enriched with whey protein provided similar protection of the developing intestine from chemotherapy-induced toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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