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Title:A pilot study on the effects of sow management practices on piglet immune responsiveness to weaning stress
Author(s):Granger, Kyle L
Advisor(s):Salak-Johnson, Janeen L.
Contributor(s):Gaskins, Rex; Dailey, Megan J.
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):adaptive immunity
innate immunity
Abstract:The consequences of maternal prenatal stress exposure of the gestating sow on the developing immune system of her offspring is not well understood. There is limited data that primarily focuses on the health and well-being of the neonates of livestock animals, principally within the swine industry, in relation to the presence of unavoidable production stressors, including—but not limited to—weaning, mixing and social hierarchy. Each of the aforementioned stressors has been previously shown to affect the health, well-being, performance and productivity of sows as well as exacerbate the disease process by compromising the immune system. Thus, more information is needed to elucidate the complex relationship between prenatal stressors and postnatal immunological competence of the offspring. The objective of this thesis was to assess the effects of sow housing environment, social stress, and dietary fiber treatments during gestation on the immune and stress responsiveness of their progeny to weaning stress. Piglets were obtained from a larger-scale study of a 180 group-housed gestating sows. Briefly, sows were randomly allotted to 1 of 2 high fiber gestation diets (1) 30% wheat middlings and 15% soybean hulls (MID-SOY) or 30% distillers dried grains and 30% corn germ meal (DDG-GM) and to a group pen with feeding stalls of either 0.6 m (SHT) or 1.8 m (LNG) in length. Sows were fed dietary treatments starting on gestational d 35 and then moved to treatment pens at gestational d 37 and kept until d 104. On d 37, prior to moving into their experimental pens, a subsample of sows were subjected to a dominance test by which we determined a dominance value (DV). Those sows with a high DV were labeled dominant (DOM) and those with a low DV were labeled submissive (SUB). From both the larger study and the subsample of sows, 40-42 piglets were selected (balanced across treatments) based on body weight prior to weaning, with the two heaviest and two lightest piglets from each litter being used. All piglets were weaned at 19 ± 2 d-of-age. Blood samples were taken 24h prior to weaning, and then 7 and 14 days post-weaning to assess descriptive and functional aspects of both innate and adaptive immunity and cortisol. These data revealed that piglets weaned from sows fed MID-SOY during gestation had a profile indicative of a skewed TH1 (cell-mediated) response, while piglets weaned from sows fed DDG-GM diet were skewed toward TH2 (humoral) response. Piglets from sows housed in pens with LNG feeding stalls were better able to cope with weaning stress compared to those piglets from sows housed in pens with SHT. Moreover, sow social status differentially impact piglet immune responsiveness to weaning stress. Piglets weaned from SUB sows had a greater cell-mediated immune response which may have cost them in terms of performance because piglets from DOM sows had improved performance. These results show that: (1) feeding gestating sows high fiber diets can impact the development and growth of her offspring; (2) physical environment of gestating sow (e.g. feeding system) may influence the physiological and immunological responsiveness of their offspring to stress; (3) sows social status can influence the immune responsiveness of her piglets; and (4) piglets immune and stress responsiveness to weaning stress may be affected by the housing environment and dietary treatment of their dam. More specifically, sow social rank, diet, and housing environment during gestation may ultimately affect the biological responses and consequences of her offspring to weaning stress.
Issue Date:2016-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Kyle Granger
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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