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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Physiology, Endocrinology, and Reproduction

Supplemental vitamin C and yeast cell wall β-glucan as growth enhancers in newborn pigs and as immunomodulators after an endotoxin challenge after weaning1


This article in

  1. Vol. 84 No. 9, p. 2352-2360
    Received: Dec 29, 2005
    Accepted: May 03, 2006
    Published: December 8, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. S. D. Eicher*2,
  2. C. A. McKee,
  3. J. A. Carroll‡3 and
  4. E. A. Pajor
  1. Livestock Behavior Research Unit, USDA-ARS, West Lafayette, IN 47907;
    Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907;
    Animal Physiology Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Columbia, MO 65211


To test possible dietary immune modulators, 32 crossbred male pigs were given 1 of 4 dietary treatments (8 pigs/treatment): control, Saccharomyces cerevisiae with β-glucan (Energy Plus, Natural Chem Industries LTD, Houston, TX; 0.312 g/kg of BW, 2.5% of diet), vitamin C (Stay C 35, DSM Nutritional Products Inc., Prisippany, NJ; 75 ppm), or β-glucan plus vitamin C together (combination; 0.312 g/kg of BW and 75 ppm, respectively). Supplements were given in whole milk within 36 h of birth and then daily for 2 wk until weaning, when the supplement was given in feed for an additional 2 wk. Growth was recorded during the 4 wk of supplement delivery. An i.v. lipopolysaccharide challenge (LPS; 150 μg/kg) was given 14 d postweaning at 0900. Behavior was observed, and blood samples were collected every 30 min for 4 h via a jugular catheter from −1 (0800) to 3 (1200) h relative to challenge (−60, −30, 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 min), and tissues were collected after exsanguination. Beta-glucan (glucan and combination) increased (P < 0.05) BW and ADG compared with vitamin C and control. Cortisol concentrations showed an interaction (P < 0.05) of the β-glucan and vitamin C. Intestinal expression of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF)-α mRNA was greatest for vitamin C and β-glucan compared with control and combination, and liver TNF-α mRNA expression showed a main effect (P < 0.01) of β-glucan. Lung expression of TNF-α mRNA exhibited a vitamin C effect (P < 0.01). In contrast, spleen had greater (P < 0.01) relative abundance of TNF-α mRNA in β-glucan pigs. Intestinal expression of IL-1Ra mRNA was greater (P < 0.05) for vitamin C and β-glucan treatments compared with the control and combination pigs. Liver expression of IL-1 receptor antagonist mRNA exhibited a vitamin C effect (P < 0.01). Lying and sleeping behaviors differed (P < 0.05) among treatments early in the observations (0700 to 0720), then sporadically until 50 min after the LPS injection. The vitamin C group slept less (P < 0.05) on those occasions. The time spent lying was least (P < 0.05) for the glucan and combination pigs immediately after the injection. These results show a complex interaction between vitamin C and this yeast product after LPS challenge, with differential expression in tissues by 2 h after LPS injections. The combination enhanced postweaning growth and reduced TNF-α expression of the intestinal and liver tissues, suggesting an important immunomodulatory role of the combination treatment.

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