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Effects of added fermentable carbohydrates in the diet on intestinal pro-inflammatory cytokine expression of weaning piglets

There is increasing evidence that dietary supplementation with prebiotics can be effective in the treatment of intestinal inflammation. As weaning time is characterized by a rapid inflammation, this study investigated the effect of a diet supplemented with four fermentable carbohydrates (lactulose, inulin, sugar beet pulp and wheat starch) on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in newly weaned piglets. Cytokines (IL-1b, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12p40, IL-18 and TNF-a) were analysed by an RT-PCR technique on day 1, 4 and 10 in the ileum and colon of piglets fed the test diet (CHO) or control diet (CON). In addition to the diet, the effect of enforced fasting on cytokine expression was also evaluated. No effect of fasting was observed on pro-inflammatory cytokine expression.

Our results showed that the CHO diet induced an up-regulation of IL-6 mRNA expression in the colon of piglets 4 days post-weaning. An increase in IL-1b mRNA expression was also observed at day 4 post-weaning in piglets fed with both the CHO diet and the CON diet. Correlation between pro-inflammatory cytokines and end-product of fermentation demonstrated that the regulation of cytokines is linked with some of the fermentation end products such as Branched Chain Proportion (BCP).

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