Impact of in-feed sodium butyrate or sodium heptanoate protected with medium-chain fatty acids on gut health in weaned piglets challenged with Escherichia coli F4+

Paola López-Colom, Lorena Castillejos, Agustina Rodríguez-Sorrento, Mónica Puyalto, Juan José Mallo, Susana M. Martín-Orúe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Short and medium-chain fatty acids (SCFA and MCFA, respectively) are commonly used as feed additives in piglets to promote health and prevent post-weaning diarrhoea. Considering that the mechanism and site of action of these fatty acids can differ, a combined supplementation could result in a synergistic action. Considering this, it was aimed to assess the potential of two new in-feed additives based on butyrate or heptanoate, protected with sodium salts of MCFA from coconut distillates, against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) F4+ using an experimental disease model. Two independent trials were performed in 48 early-weaned piglets fed a control diet (CTR) or a diet supplemented with MCFA-protected sodium butyrate (BUT+; Trial 1) or sodium heptanoate (HPT+; Trial 2). After 1 week of adaptation, piglets were challenged with a single oral inoculum of ETEC F4+ (minimum 1.4 · 109 cfu). One animal per pen was euthanised on days 4 and 8 post-inoculation (PI) and the following variables assessed: growth performance, clinical signs, gut fermentation, intestinal morphology, inflammatory mediators, pathogen excretion and colon microbiota. None of the additives recovered growth performance or reduced diarrhoea when compared to the respective negative controls. However, both elicited different responses against ETEC F4+. The BUT+ additive did not lead to reduce E. coli F4 colonisation but enterobacterial counts and goblet cell numbers in the ileum were increased on day 8 PI and this followed higher serum TNF-α concentrations on day 4 PI. The Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratio was nevertheless increased. Findings in the HPT+ treatment trial included fewer animals featuring E. coli F4 in the colon and reduced Enterobacteriaceae (determined by 16S RNA sequencing) on day 4 PI. In addition, while goblet cell numbers were lower on day 8 PI, total SCFA levels were reduced in the colon. Results indicate the efficacy of MCFA-protected heptanoate against ETEC F4+ and emphasise the potential trophic effect of MCFA-protected butyrate on the intestinal epithelium likely reinforcing the gut barrier.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)271-295
Number of pages25
JournalArchives of Animal Nutrition
Volume74
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • 16S amplicon
  • medium-chain fatty acids
  • post-weaning diarrhoea
  • short-chain fatty acids
  • weaned piglet

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