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J Anim Sci. 2019 Mar 1;97(3):1212-1221. doi: 10.1093/jas/skz023.

Dietary vitamin E affects small intestinal histomorphology, digestive enzyme activity, and the expression of nutrient transporters by inhibiting proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells within jejunum in weaned piglets1.

Chen C1,2, Wang Z1,2, Li J1, Li Y1, Huang P1, Ding X1, Yin J1, He S1, Yang H1,2, Yin Y1,2,3.

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Hunan International Joint Laboratory of Animal Intestinal Ecology and Health, Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Human Health, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan, China.
Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Scientific Observing and Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in South-Central, Ministry of Agriculture, Hunan Provincial Engineering Research Center for Healthy Livestock and Poultry Production, Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, Hunan, China.
Academics Working Station at The First Affiliated Hospital of Changsha Medical University, Changsha, Hunan, China.


Vitamin E (VE) is an indispensable vitamin in piglet feed formula. Among other things, it affects tissues including small intestine tissues and in particular its major unit intestinal epithelial cells. Previously, limited in vivo experiments have focused on the effect of VE on the intestine, particularly digestion and absorption. VE has been shown to inhibit proliferation of some types of cells. This experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that VE affects intestinal functions by influencing the intestinal epithelial cell proliferation. Thirty 21-d old weaned [(Yorkshire × Landrace) × Duroc] piglets with BWs of 6.36 ± 0.55 kg were randomly divided into five VE-containing feeding formula groups. The treatments were (i) 0 IU (control), (ii) 16 IU, (iii) 32 IU, (iv) 4. 80 IU, and (v) 5. 160 IU. The treatments lasted 14 d. At the end of the experiment, all subjects were sacrificed to obtain blood and tissue samples. The results suggest that VE did not affect the growth performance. VE did tend to decrease jejunal crypt depth (linear, P = 0.056) and villus width (linear, P < 0.05). Sucrase activity significantly decreased in the adding 80 IU VE compared with the control (P < 0.05). Jejunal crypt, cell proliferation in 80 IU group significantly decreased compared with the control group (P < 0.05). This study suggests that dietary VE may affect intestinal morphology and functions by inhibiting weaned piglet jejunal epithelial cell proliferation.


digest enzyme; histomorphology; intestinal epithelial cell proliferation; intestine; weaned piglets; α-tocopherol

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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