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    Dietary osteopontin-enriched algal protein as nutritional support in weaned pigs infected with F18-fimbriated enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Smith B N,Hannas M,Orso C,Martins S M M K,Wang M,Donovan S M,Dilger R N Journal of animal science This study investigated the effects of dietary osteopontin-enriched algal protein on growth, immune status, and fecal fermentation profiles of weaned pigs challenged with a live infection of F18-fimbriated enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). At 21 d of age, 54 pigs (5.95 ± 0.28 kg BW; blocked by BW) were allotted to 1 of 3 experimental groups combining dietary and health statuses. A control diet, containing 1% wild-type algal protein, was fed to both sham-inoculated (NC) and ETEC-inoculated (PC) pigs, while the test diet contained 1% osteopontin-enriched algal protein as fed only to ETEC-inoculated pigs (OA). All pigs received their assigned dietary treatment starting at study initiation to permit a 10-d acclimation period prior to inoculation. Growth performance, fecal dry matter, as well as hematological, histopathological, immune, and microbiota outcomes were analyzed by ANOVA, where treatment and time were considered as fixed effects and pig as a random effect; significance was accepted at P < 0.05. Overall, ETEC-inoculated pigs (PC and OA) exhibited decreased (P < 0.05) ADG and G:F, as well as increased (P < 0.05) peripheral blood helper T-cells and total leukocyte counts, compared with NC pigs during the post-inoculation period. The OA treatment also elicited the highest (P < 0.05) concentrations of circulating TNF-α and volatile fatty acid concentrations in luminal contents at various post-inoculation time-points, compared with other treatments. A principal coordinate analysis based on Unifrac weighted distances indicated that NC and OA groups had similar overall bacterial community structures, while PC pigs exhibited greater diversity, but infection status had no impact on alpha-diversity. Osteopontin-specific effects on microbial community structure included enrichment within Streptococcus and Blautia genera and decreased abundance of 12 other genera as compared with PC pigs. Overall, ETEC-infected pigs receiving 1% osteopontin-enriched algal protein exhibited changes immunity, inflammatory status, and colonic microbial community structure that may benefit weanling pigs experiencing F18 ETEC infection. 10.1093/jas/skaa314