The lectin, phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), from red kidney beans has been shown as an inducer of growth and precocious gastrointestinal (Cl) maturation in suckling animals, thus better preparing piglets for the weaning procedure. PHA exposure results in the release of gut peptide hormones and/or activation of the Cl immune system. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanisms of PHA provocation by studying changes in the blood/plasma levels of major gut hormones, immune parameters and acute phase proteins. Suckling, 9-10 day-old, littermate piglets were gavage fed PHA, either in purified or crude form or, as a control, alpha-lactalbumin (n = 5-6 pigs/group) and blood was obtained repeatedly during one week and after weaning at 5 weeks. No significant differences in the blood parameters between PHA-treated pigs in comparison to their time-matched controls were found during the first week after treatment. At weaning significant changes in hormonal (insulin) and immune (WBC) parameters and CRP were observed, however, these effects were independent of earlier PHA treatment. In conclusion, PHA, given enterally as a single dose, did not affect the basal blood parameters analysed, during both the suckling and post-weaning periods in piglets. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
11th International Symposium on Digestive Physiology of Pigs