Two experiments (EXPs) were conducted to evaluate models of immune system stimulation (ISS) that can be used in nutrient metabolism studies in growing pigs. In EXP I, the pig's immune response to three non-pathogenic immunogens was evaluated, whereas in EXP II the pig's more general response to one of the immunogens was contrasted with observations on non-ISS pigs. In EXP I, nine growing barrows were fitted with a jugular catheter, and after recovery assigned to one of three treatments. Three immunogens were tested during a 10-day ISS period: (i) repeated injection of increasing amounts of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS); (ii) repeated subcutaneous injection of turpentine (TURP); and (iii) feeding grains naturally contaminated with mycotoxins (MYCO). In EXP II, 36 growing barrows were injected repeatedly with either saline (n = 12) or increasing amounts of LPS (n = 24) for 7 days (initial dose 60 μg/kg body weight). Treating pigs with TURP and LPS reduced feed intake (P < 0.02), whereas feed intake was not reduced in pigs on MYCO. Average daily gain (ADG; kg/day) of pigs on LPS (0.50) was higher than that of pigs on TURP (0.19), but lower than that of pigs on MYCO (0.61; P < 0.01). Body temperature was elevated in pigs on LPS and TURP, by 0.8°C and 0.7°C, respectively, relative to pre-ISS challenge values (39.3°C; P < 0.02), but remained unchanged in pigs on MYCO. Plasma concentrations of interleukin-1 were increased in pigs treated with LPS and TURP (56% and 55%, respectively, relative to 22.3 pg/ml for pre-ISS; P < 0.01), but not in MYCO-treated pigs. Plasma cortisol concentrations remained unchanged for pigs on MYCO and TURP, but were reduced in LPS-treated pigs (30% relative to 29.8 ng/ml for pre-ISS; P < 0.05). Red blood cell glutathione concentrations were lower in TURP-treated pigs (13% relative to 1.38 M for pre-ISS; P < 0.05), but were unaffected in pigs on LPS and MYCO. In EXP I, TURP caused severe responses including skin ulceration and substantial reductions in feed intake and ADG, whereas MYCO did not induce effective ISS. In EXP II, ISS increased relative organ weights, eye temperature, white blood cell count and plasma acute-phase proteins (P < 0.05), confirming that repeated injection with increasing amounts of LPS induced chronic and relatively mild ISS. Repeated injection with increasing amounts of LPS is a suitable model for studying nutrient metabolism and evaluating the efficacy of nutritional intervention during chronic ISS in growing pigs.
- immune system stimulation