Intestinal Histology and Immune Status of Semi-anemic Piglets Fed Lactoferrin, Meat, or Meat Extract

Josephine A. Rapisura-Flores1*, Patrick C.H. Morel2, David G. Thomas2,
Brian H.P. Wilkinson3, Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick3, and Roger W. Purchas3

1College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Southern Mindanao,
Kabacan, Cotabato Philippines
2School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, New Zealand
3Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology, Massey University, New Zealand


*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



This study assessed the effects of dietary lactoferrin, meat, or meat extract on immune status and small intestine morphology of 24 three-week-old semi-anemic piglets (six per group) over 28 days, after a one week acclimatization period. Blood samples collected from the piglets at 4 and 8 weeks of age were subjected to whole-blood proliferation and phagocytic activity assays. The leukocyte phagocytic activity and lymphocyte cell proliferative responses of the piglets to concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin were significantly (p < 0.05) improved by the meat-extract diet. This demonstrated that meat extract is a potential immuno-modulating feed ingredient particularly after the period of weaning when piglets are highly susceptible to infection. For intestinal histology, each piglet was euthanized at 8 weeks of age while under anaesthesia and had its small intestine removed. No diet effects were observed for some histological parameters (villus height, crypt depth, and mucosal thickness). However, meat and meat-extract diets significantly (p = 0.003) increased the number of goblet cells / 100 µm of villous epithelium, which suggests that the meat extract and meat diets stimulated mucin secretion.



Digestion products in the gastrointestinal tract have the ability to reduce dietary ferric iron into a more soluble ferrous iron form (Sorensen et al. 2006). The crypt cells of the small intestine in particular appear to detect iron concentrations through the hemochromatosis gene product transferrin receptor 1(HFE-TfR1) complex on the basolateral membrane of duodenal cells (Fleming & Britton 2006). Since final nutrient digestion and assimilation occurs in the crypts of Lieberkühn and villi of the small intestine, intestinal development can be assessed through measurements of the crypt depth and villus height to determine the total surface area available for digestion and absorption (Laudadio et al. 2012) more



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