Intrauterine growth restriction alters nutrient metabolism in the intestine of porcine offspring

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Abstract

Background: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) has negative impacts on the postnatal survival, growth and development of humans and animals, with not only on newborns but also adulthood. However, the characteristics for nutrient digestion and absorption in IUGR offspring are still largely unknown. Therefore, the normal birth weight (NBW) and IUGR growing pigs were used in this study to investigate their differences in nutrient utilization, with an expectition for further nutritional optimization of the IUGR offspring during their later life. Methods: Twelve IUGR and 12 NBW growing pigs were fitted with catheters in their portal vein to measure blood flow rate as well as nutrients and metabolites in plasma. The digestibilities of nutrients in different intestinal segments, and bacterial fermentation in the large intestine were examined to reveal the characteristics of nutrients utilization in IUGR versus NBW pigs. Results: The rate of portal venous blood flow did not differ beween IUGR and NBW pigs. Plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose were much lower but those of urea were higher in the portal vein of IUGR pigs, compared with the NBW pigs. The ileal digestibility of dry matter, gross energy and starch were lower in IUGR pigs than in NBW pigs. IUGR increased hindgut microbial diversity and bacterial fermentation activity in the caecum. In vitro cross-fermentation of ileal digesta by caecal microbes of NBW and IUGR pigs showed that gas production was much higher for IUGR ileal digesta regardless of the source of caecal inocula. Conclusion: IUGR impairs the nutrient digestion and absorption in small intestine, reduces caecal microbial diversity and promotes bacterial fermentation in the large intestine during the growing phase. These findings aid in our understanding of nutrient metabolism in IUGR pigs and provide the basis for future nutritional interventions.

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Li, T., Huang, S., Lei, L., Tao, S., Xiong, Y., Wu, G., … Wang, J. (2021). Intrauterine growth restriction alters nutrient metabolism in the intestine of porcine offspring. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40104-020-00538-y

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