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J Anim Sci. 1983 Feb;56(2):396-400.

Weaning pigs at an early age decreases cellular immunity.

Abstract

An experiment involving 118 pigs was conducted to evaluate the influence of weaning pigs at four different ages on in vivo and in vitro cell-mediated immunity. One-half of each litter was weaned at 2, 3, 4 or 5 wk of age; the other one-half remained with the sow as nonweaned controls. Phytohemagglutinin skin-test responses were determined on all pigs. Blastogenic responses of mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte cultures were determined before and after weaning. The intradermal response to phytohemagglutinin was reduced (P less than .001) in pigs weaned when 2 or 3 wk old and was suppressed (P less than .05) in those weaned when 4 wk old. In vivo cellular immunity was not altered by weaning in 5-wk-old pigs. The capability of lymphocytes to undergo blastogenesis in response to phytohemagglutinin was decreased in pigs weaned at 2 and 3 wk of age (P less than .001 and P less than .01, respectively). Pokeweed mitogen-stimulated blastogenesis was lower (P less than .01) in pigs weaned at 2 wk of age. Mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte blastogenesis was similar (P greater than .10) in control pigs and those weaned when 5 wk old. These data suggested that weaning pigs when younger than 5 wk old causes physiological changes detrimental to cellular immune reactivity. Those changes could alter disease susceptibility in young pigs.

PMID:
6841290
DOI:
10.2527/jas1983.562396x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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