High doses of ZnO are used to treat diarrhea in weaning pigs but are also an environmental concern. The mechanism of action of Zn against diarrhea is still not well understood. The amount of solubilized Zn, the relation of Zn with Fe and Cu, and the concentration of these elements in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are key data to understanding its mechanism of action and optimize its use. Therefore, we studied the Zn, Fe, and Cu concentrations in the GIT content of unweaned, weaned, and ZnO-treated pigs. Eight litters were used and 3 piglets were selected within each litter. Two piglets from each litter were weaned at 21 d of age and fed a commercial control diet (WCt) or WCt + 2000 mg/kg of Zn as ZnO (WZn). The third pig was kept unweaned (Uw) with the sow. All 24 pigs were killed at 28 d of age, GIT contents were sampled, soluble and insoluble fractions of the content were separated, and Zn, Fe, and Cu concentrations were analyzed. Concentration of Zn increased 3 to 5 fold along the GIT (2 to 10 fold in the soluble fraction) for weaned pigs on WZn compared to WCt and Uw pigs (P < 0.01 in all cases). The proportion of total Zn that was present in the soluble fraction was 4 to 10 folds higher in jejunum, ileum, and cecum of Uw pigs than in those weaned (P < 0.01 in all cases) but was not affected by ZnO treatment. Concentration of Fe in the soluble fraction was higher for Uw pigs compared to weaned pigs along the GIT (P < 0.05 in all cases) even when concentration in total content was lower for Uw pigs in stomach (P = 0.001) and jejunum (P = 0.029). Concentrations of Cu were lower in Uw pigs than in weaned pigs along the GIT (P < 0.05 in all cases). Surprisingly, animals on WZn showed a 5 to 10 fold increase of Cu solubilized in distal parts of the GIT (cecum and colon; P < 0.001) compared to other groups. Differences in Zn, Fe, and Cu concentrations found among treatments will be useful in future studies for understanding mechanism of action of ZnO and optimizing its use in order to avoid environmental concerns. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2012|
- Intestinal content