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This article in

  1. Vol. 84 No. 10, p. 2636-2641
    Received: Sept 24, 2005
    Accepted: May 25, 2006
    Published: December 8, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Effect of lactoferrin on the growth performance, intestinal morphology, and expression of PR-39 and protegrin-1 genes in weaned piglets1

  1. Y. Wang2,
  2. T. Shan,
  3. Z. Xu,
  4. J. Liu and
  5. J. Feng
  1. Institute of Feed Science, Zhejiang University, The Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, Ministry of Education, No. 164 Qiutao North Road, Hangzhou 310029, P. R. China


A total of 90 weaned female pigs (Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire) were used in a 15-d growth experiment to investigate the effect of lactoferrin on growth performance, intestinal morphology, and expression of PR-39 and protegrin-1 genes. The pigs were allocated on the basis of BW and litter to 3 dietary treatments in a randomized complete block design. There were 3 replicate pens per treatment, and the pigs were grouped with 10 pigs per pen. The dietary treatments were (1) basal diet; (2) basal diet + 20 mg of flavomycin/kg + 110 mg of aureomycin/kg; (3) basal diet + 1.0 g of lactoferrin/kg. Six pigs, randomly selected from each treatment (2 piglets/pen) were slaughtered for intestinal morphology and expression of PR-39 and protegrin-1 genes at the end of the experiment. Supplementation with lactoferrin improved growth performance; it increased ADG by 41.80% (P < 0.01) and efficiency of gain (G:F) by 17.20% (P < 0.05). Intestinal villus height was increased by 15.30% (P < 0.05), and crypt depth was decreased by 9.60% (P < 0.05). Supplemental lactoferrin increased the relative abundance of mRNA for PR-39 and protegrin-1 by 143% (P < 0.01) and 217% (P < 0.01), respectively. The use of lactoferrin as an additive to improve nonspecific immunity and strengthen host defenses would be good a method of defending weaned pigs from infections and weanling stress.

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