ORIGINAL PAPER
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Pidotimod (PTD) is a synthetic immunomodulatory dipeptide widely used for immune regulation. This study aimed to investigate the effect of PTD on growth performance, immune function, intestinal epithelial barriers and microbiota in piglets. In total, 120 piglets with a weight of 25.26 ± 5.96 kg and genetic makeup were selected and randomly divided into 4 groups with 3 replicates per group and 10 piglets per replicate. All piglets were weighed, and from 3 piglets from each replicate (9 piglets per group) tissues were collected. Piglets were fed for 44 days basal diet alone or supplemented with 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg PTD. It was found that the PTD addition increased the average daily weight gain of piglets (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01 for dose 50 and 100 mg/kg, respectively). So, for further studies only dose 50 mg/kg PTD was used. It was found that such dose decreased serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6 (P < 0.05) and interferon (IFN)-γ (P < 0.01), but increased antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10 level (P < 0.05). Transmission electron micrographs further revealed that supplementation with PTD at a dose of 50 mg/kg enhanced intercellular connectivity, characterized by longer tight junction (TJ) proteins, thicker adhesive tapes (AB) and desmosomes (D) in the jejunum. This phenomenon was validated by the up-regulated protein expression of occludin and ZO-1 in the jejunum. Furthermore, supplementation with PTD at a dose of 50 mg/kg altered the α diversity of intestinal microbiota in piglets (Observed_species, Chao1, PD_whole_tree, Ace). Particularly, the abundance of Spirochaetes, Verrucomicrobia, Succinispira and Treponema was decreased, but that of Lactobacillus and Collinsella was increased. Overall, dietary supplementation with 50 mg/kg PTD improves the growth performance of piglets by enhancing immune function, intestinal epithelial barrier and regulating microbiota composition.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The present work was supported by the grants from the planning subject of ‘the Twelfth Five-year-plan’ in National Science and Technology for the Rural Development in China (grant no. 2013BAD10B03). The authors thank Baikui Wang for the microbial analysis of the manuscript.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.
 
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