Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 41, Number 1, January-February 2001
|Page(s)||47 - 55|
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 41 (2001) 47-55
Effect of dietary -carotene on the accumulation of -carotene and vitamin A in plasma and tissues of giltsFlorian J. Schweigerta, Ingeborg Buchholzb, Annette Schuhmacherc and Jürgen Groppc
a Institute of Nutritional Science, University Potsdam, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, 14558 Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany
b Department of Veterinary Physiology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Leipzig, Germany
c Department of Animal Nutrition, Veterinary Faculty, University of Leipzig, Germany
(Received 18 August 2000; accepted 22 January 2001)
The absorption of -carotene in pigs is limited. Nevertheless -carotene might positively affect reproduction. In this study the absorption and tissue distribution of -carotene as well as its function as precursor of vitamin A was investigated in gilts that were fed according to one of three dietary treatments: VA (4000 IU vitamin A), VA + VA (4000 IU + 8300 IU) and VA + BC (4000 IU + 100 mg -carotene per kg diet) for 14 weeks. Only in the VA + BC group was -carotene detected in plasma (1-8 ngmL-1), liver, adrenals and corpora lutea, indicating that pigs absorb intact -carotene at low rates. Liver levels of vitamin A were higher ( P < 0.01) at comparable levels in the VA + VA and VA + BC group than in the VA group, indicating a conversion rate of -carotene to vitamin A of 40 to 1 on the basis of weight for -carotene at this level (100 mgkg-1) in the diet. Higher levels of vitamin A in the uterus of the VA + BC group ( P < 0.01) as well as the accumulation of -carotene in adrenals and corpora lutea might reflect some influence of -carotene on local vitamin A metabolism which might be of importance for reproductive performance in gilts.
Key words: pig / metabolism / absorption / tissue distribution / -carotene / vitamin A
Correspondence and reprints: Florian J. Schweigert
© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001