Few studies have evaluated the impact of dietary choline on the health and well-being of swine, and those pivotal papers were aimed at determining dietary requirements for sows and growing pigs. This is of importance as the piglet is becoming a widely accepted model for human infant nutrition, but little is known about the impacts of perinatal choline status on overall health and metabolism of the growing piglet. In the present study, sows were provided either a choline deficient (CD, 625 mg choline/kg dry matter) or choline sufficient (CS, 1306 mg choline/kg dry matter) diet for the last 65 d of gestation (prenatal intervention). Piglets were weaned from the sow 48 h after farrowing and provided either a CD (477 mg choline/kg dry matter) or CS (1528 mg choline/kg dry matter) milk replacer (postnatal intervention) for 29 ± 2 d, resulting in a factorial arrangement of 4 treatment (prenatal/postnatal) groups: CS/CS, CS/CD, CD/CS, and CD/CD. Piglet growth was normal for artificially-reared piglets, and was not impacted by perinatal choline status. Piglets receiving the postnatal CD treatment had lower (P < 0.01) plasma choline and choline-containing phospholipid concentrations and higher (P < 0.05) liver enzyme (alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transferase) values compared with piglets receiving the postnatal CS treatment. Hepatic lipid content of piglets receiving the postnatal CD treatment was higher (P < 0.01) compared with piglets receiving the postnatal CS treatment. Additionally, postnatally CD piglets had lower (P = 0.01) plasma cholesterol than postnatally CS piglets. Brain development was also impacted by perinatal choline status, with brains of piglets exposed to prenatal CD being smaller (P = 0.01) than those of prenatally CS piglets. These findings support the hypothesis that the piglet is a sensitive model for choline deficiency during the perinatal period. In the present study, piglets exhibited similarities in health markers and metabolomic profiles to rodents and humans when exposed to moderate choline deficiency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)