Immune system stimulation increases the optimal dietary methionine to methionine plus cysteine ratio in growing pigs

N. Litvak, A. Rakhshandeh, J. K. Htoo, C. F.M. de Lange

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27 Scopus citations


Chronic subclinical levels of disease occur frequently in intensive swine production and compromise nutrient use efficiency. Feeding additional Met plus Cys (M+C) has been implicated in improving the response of the animal to immune system stimulation (ISS) because they can serve as substrates for generating compounds involved in the immune response, such as glutathione and acute phase proteins. A N-balance study was conducted to assess the optimal dietary Met to Met plus Cys ratio (M:M+C) during ISS in 20-kg pigs. Thirty-six pigs were fed 800 g/d of 1 of 5 M+C-limiting diets, containing graded levels of M:M+C (0.42, 0.47, 0.52, 0.57, and 0.62) and supplying 2.5 g/d of M+C. After adaptation, N balances were determined sequentially during a 5-d prechallenge period and 2 ISS periods of 3 and 4 d, respectively. To induce ISS, pigs were injected intramuscularly with repeated and increasing doses of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide. Eye temperature and blood profile confirmed effective ISS. During ISS period 1, ISS reduced the mean N balance more severely than ISS period 2 (8.7 ± 0.3 vs. 9.6 ± 0.4 g/d; P < 0.001) and was less than the prechallenge period (10.0 ± 0.2 g/d; P < 0.001). An interactive effect of ISS and diet on N balance was observed (P < 0.001). Based on quadratic-plateau regression analysis, the optimal dietary M:M+C was 0.57 ± 0.03 and 0.59 ± 0.02 for the prechallenge period and ISS period 2, respectively. The optimal dietary M:M+C for ISS period 1 was found to be greater than 0.62, indicating that the optimal M:M+C is greater during ISS. It is suggested that this is the result of preferential use of Met during ISS. In conclusion, ISS results in an increase in the optimal dietary M:M+C in growing pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4188-4196
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Body protein deposition
  • Cysteine
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Inflammation
  • Methionine
  • Pigs


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