Effects of oral supplementation with bovine colostrum on the immune system of weaned piglets
Boudry, C.; Buldgen, A.; Portetelle, D.; Collard, A.; Théwis, A.; Dehoux, J-P.
Research in Veterinary Science 83(1): 91-101
The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of bovine colostrum supplementation on the immune system of weaned piglets in a context of a full ban of in-feed antibiotics. After weaning at 21 days, 24 outbred piglets were fed with a diet supplemented daily for three weeks with 0, 1 or 5 g of colostrum. Feed intake, growth performance, haematological parameters, and serum and local anti-colostrum immunoglobulin levels were examined. Lymphocytes from the blood, spleen, and gut-associated lymphoid were analysed for phenotype as well as for their ability to produce cytokines. The stimulation index (SI) of mononuclear cells from different organs was obtained after colostral or mitogenic stimulation. Feed intake, growth, and haematological parameters were not significantly affected by colostrum. Total serum IgA levels were increased after colostrum supplementation, with a transient decrease in total IgG. Local anti-colostrum immunization was observed in colostrum-fed piglets. The CD21+/CD3+ cells populations of the ileal Peyer's patch (iPP) were markedly affected. The SI of lymphocyte populations changed significantly whereas, naive blood lymphocytes were not stimulated in vitro in the presence of bovine colostrum, suggesting local anti-colostrum immunization and an absence of direct mitogenic effects of the colostrum. Both Th1 and Th2 cytokine production was present in the different organs of colostrum-fed piglets. Bovine colostrum especially stimulated iPP cells.