Effect of dietary supplementation with glutamine and a combination of glutamine-arginine on intestinal health in twenty-five-day-old weaned rabbits

S. Chamorro, C. de Blas, G. Grant, I. Badiola, D. Menoyo, R. Carabaño

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    The effect of dietary supplementation with 1% l-glutamine and a combination of 1% l-glutamine and 0.5% l-arginine on intestinal health was examined in weaned rabbits. A basal diet was for-mulated to meet nutrient recommendations. Another 2 diets were formulated by adding 1% (as-fed basis) Gln or a mixture of 1% (as-fed basis) Gln + 0.5% (as-fed basis) Arg (Gln-Arg) to the basal diet. In Exp. 1, a to-tal of 357 rabbits were blocked by litter and assigned at random to the experimental diet to determine mortal-ity (119 per diet) and growth performance (35 per diet; from weaning at 25 to 56 d of age). Rabbits were fed the experimental diets for a 2-wk period and thereafter received a commercial diet. Rabbits weaned at 25 d (blocked by litter and assigned at random to diets) were slaughtered at 35 d and used to determine apparent il-eal digestibility of DM, CP, and AA (Exp. 2, a total of 60 rabbits), intestinal morphology, N-aminopeptidase and myeloperoxidase intestinal activity, the expression of PPARγ at the ileum and kidney, serum immuno-globulin in healthy and sick rabbits (Exp. 3, a total of 24 rabbits), and ileal and cecal microbial composition by PCR-RFLP (Exp. 4, a total of 45 rabbits). Dietary treatment did not affect ADG, ADFI, or G:F, during the entire fattening period. Supplementation with Gln reduced mortality during the first 2 wk and the whole fattening period from 18.5 to 8.4% (P = 0.023) and from 31.9 to 20.2% (P = 0.039), respectively, whereas no effect was detected for Arg supplementation. Among all the variables studied, the reduction on mortality due to Gln was related to a reduced intestinal colonization (Eimeria lesions) and changes on microbial ecosystem in the ileum and cecum, reducing the frequency of detection of Clostridium spp. (from 86.7 to 33.3%, P = 0.003) at the ileum, and Helicobacter spp. at the ileum (from 86.7 to 46.7%, P = 0.003) and at the cecum (from 86.7 to 46.7, P = 0.028), whereas no effect was detect-ed for Arg supplementation. In conclusion, 1% l-Gln supplementation to postweaned rabbit diets decreased fattening mortality and modified the intestinal micro-biota (although no consistent effects were observed on mucosal histology or inflammatory and systemic immune response). Diets containing a combination of 1% Gln and 0.5% Arg were of little additional benefit. © 2010 American Society of Animal Science.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-180
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


    • Arginine
    • Glutamine
    • Intestinal microbiota
    • Mucosal integrity
    • Rabbit


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