Study Title:

Pregnancy Fish Oil Consumption Boosts Offspring's Immunity

Study Abstract

A 2 x 2 factorial experiment (n = 10 sows/treatment) was conducted to investigate the effect of maternal dietary supplementation with seaweed extract (SWE: 0 vs. 10.0 g/d) and fish oil (FO) inclusion (0 vs. 100 g/d) from d 109 of gestation until weaning (d 26) on sow colostrum and milk composition, humoral immune response on d 5 and 12 of lactation, and suckling piglet performance. Furthermore, the influence of dietary treatment on the phagocytic activity of whole blood white cells at weaning was examined. The SWE (10 g) contained laminarin (1 g), fucoidan (0.8 g), and ash (8.2 g) and was extracted from a Laminaria spp. The FO contained approximately 40% eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 25% docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The SWE-supplemented sows had greater colostrum IgG (P < 0.01) and milk protein (P < 0.05) concentrations on d 12 of lactation compared to non SWE-supplemented sows. Piglets suckling SWE-supplemented sows had greater serum IgG (P < 0.01) and IgA (P < 0.05) concentrations on d 5 and IgG concentrations on d 12 (P < 0.05) of lactation compared to those suckling non SWE-supplemented sows. In contrast, FO supplementation exerted a suppressive effect on piglet serum IgA concentrations on d 5 of lactation (P < 0.05) compared to non FO-supplemented diets. Dietary FO supplementation enhanced the n-3 PUFA proportion of sow milk (P < 0.001) and piglet serum at weaning (P < 0.001). Piglets suckling SWE-supplemented sows had a greater percentage of E. coli phagocytizing leukocytes (P < 0.05) and a lower percentage of E. coli phagocytizing lymphocytes (P < 0.01) compared to non SWE-supplemented sows. Piglets suckling FO-supplemented sows had a greater percentage of leukocytes (P < 0.05) and lymphocytes (P < 0.05) phagocytizing E. coli compared to non FO-supplemented sows. However, total leukocyte, lymphocyte, monocyte and neutrophil numbers were not influenced by sow dietary treatment. Average piglet weaning weight and ADG between birth and weaning were not influenced by sow dietary treatment. In conclusion, the current study demonstrates that SWE supplementation from d 109 of gestation until weaning enhanced colostral IgG concentrations and circulatory IgG concentrations in suckled piglets on d 5 and 12 of lactation. Furthermore, the percentage of leukocytes and lymphocytes phagocytizing E. coli at weaning increased in piglets suckling FO-supplemented sows, indicating an enhancement of immune function against presenting pathogens. However, it must be noted that the combination of SWE and FO bestowed no positive effect on immune responses investigated in the current study.

Study Information

Leonard SG, Sweeney T, Bahar B, Lynch BP, O'Doherty JV.
Effect of maternal fish oil and seaweed extract supplementation on colostum and milk composition, humoral immune response, and performance of suckled piglets1
J Anim Sci.
2010 May
School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Lyons Research Farm, Newcastle, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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