Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Influence of environment and diet on the developing intestinal immune system of piglets

The aim of the experiments was to follow the development of the intestinal immune system within the period around weaning. The piglets were reared under several environments that were controlled for different parameters. The cytokine profiles and lymphocyte subsets were studied in these pigs. The most important aspect of the study was that pigs in a highly standardised experimental setup were quite homogeneous so that the analysis of cytokine expression resulted in a clear pattern beginning with 2 days before weaning til day 11 after weaning.

Interestingly the significant reduction of environmental antigens in the experiments carried out in collaboration showed a smaller number of cells expressing the inflammatory and non-inflammatory cytokines, but the overall pattern of isolator pigs was comparable to that of control animals. It was also examined whether the exposition of the intestinal mucosa to comensal bacteria (Lactobacillus sobrius) or bacterial toxins had an impact on the subsets of the dendritic cells in these tissue compartments. On hour after antigen application there was no change in the intestinal morphology but after cholera toxin application the subset of SIRPalpha positive dendritic cells had increased.

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