Alterations of fecal microbiome characteristics by dietary soy isoflavone ingestion in growing pigs infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus

Brooke N. Smith, Stephen A. Fleming, Mei Wang, Ryan N. Dilger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an economically important disease, and the ingestion of soy isoflavones (ISF) may benefit PRRSV-infected pigs due to demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. The objective of this study was to quantify the effects of ISF consumption on fecal microbiome characteristics at different timepoints across a disease challenge and determine whether any changes, if present, elude to potential biological mechanisms for previously observed performance benefits. In total, 96 weaned barrows were group-housed in a Biosafety Level-2 containment facility and allotted to one of three experimental treatments that were maintained throughout the study: noninfected pigs receiving an ISF-devoid control diet (NEG, n = 24) and infected pigs receiving either the control diet (POS, n = 36) or that supplemented with total ISF in excess of 1,600 mg/kg (ISF, n = 36). Following a 7-d adaptation, pigs were inoculated intranasally with either a sham-control (phosphate-buffered saline) or live PRRSV (1 × 105 median tissue culture infectious dose[TCID]50/mL, strain NADC20). Fecal samples were collected from 48 individual pigs at pre-infection (-2 d post-inoculation [DPI]), peak-infection (10 DPI), and post-infection (144 DPI) timepoints. Extracted DNA was used to quantify fecal microbiota profiles via 16S bacterial rRNA sequencing. Differences in bacterial communities among diet groups were evaluated with principal coordinate analysis and permutational multivariate analysis of variance using UniFrac distance matrices based on both unweighted and weighted UniFrac distances using QIIME 2. All other data were analyzed by one-way ANOVA performed on square root transformations using R. Across all timepoints, only a few differences were observed due to ISF alone mainly in lowly abundant genera. The most notable differences observed were decreased relative abundance of Actinobacteria at 144 DPI between noninfected and infected treatments (P < 0.05), which is consistent with various dysbioses observed in other disease models. Our findings indicate that the differences present were mainly due to PRRSV-infection alone and not strongly influenced by diet, which implies that previously observed performance benefits conferred by dietary ISF are not likely due to the changes in microbiome composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa156
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 31 2019


  • disease
  • isoflavones
  • microbiome
  • porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
  • soybean
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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