Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 2, March-April 2006
Page(s) 167 - 178
Published online 06 April 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 167-178
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2006006

Effects of a bovine colostrum-supplemented diet on some gut parameters in weaned piglets

Antoine Huguet, Bernard Sève, Jean Le Dividich and Isabelle Le Huërou-Luron

Unité Mixte de Recherches, Systèmes d'Élevage, Nutrition Animale et Humaine, INRA, Domaine de la Prise, 35590 St-Gilles, France

(Received 4 October 2005; accepted 22 November 2005; published online 6 April 2006)

Abstract - The present study investigated the effects of a bovine colostrum-supplemented diet on gut post-weaning adaptation and health in piglets. Thirty-six 21-d-old piglets were allocated to one of the three following dietary treatments: sow-reared (SR), weaned on a control starter diet (WCtrl) or on a starter diet supplemented with bovine colostrum (WCol) until slaughter at 28 d or 35 d of age. Gastric pH and intestinal bacteriological, structural and functional parameters were determined. Compared to WCtrl, the gastric pH was lower (P < 0.05) and the duodenal lactobacilli:coliform ratio was higher (P = 0.05) in WCol piglets. The relative small intestine weight was 18% (P < 0.05) higher in WCol piglets than in SR piglets. Duodenal villous height was lower (P < 0.01) in WCtrl than in SR piglets, whereas the value for WCol piglets was intermediate. The weaning-increased crypt cell proliferation was not affected by bovine colostrum supplementation. The mucosal ribosomal capacity was higher (P < 0.05) in W than in SR piglets. In conclusion, a diet supplemented with colostrum induced, although not always significantly, variations of gut parameters, suggesting that globally, colostrum may limit weaning-induced gut structural and microbial alterations. The observed effects occurred early and were maintained throughout the post-weaning adaptive phase.

Key words: bovine colostrum / intestine / microflora / mucosa growth / weaning

Corresponding author: Isabelle Le Huërou-Luron

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006