Effects of herbal extract supplementation on growth performance and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I system in finishing pigs
Y. Wei 1
D. Wu 1
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Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Engineering Research Center of Animal Disease-Resistance Nutrition of China Ministry of Education, Yaan, 625014, P.R. China
Publication date: 2008-10-27
Corresponding author
A. G. Zhou   

Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Engineering Research Center of Animal Disease-Resistance Nutrition of China Ministry of Education, Yaan, 625014, P.R. China
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2008;17(4):538-547
The study’s main objective was to investigate the effects of a specific blend of herbal extracts (HEs) on growth performance, antioxidant status, and components of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in finishing pigs. A total of 16 PIC (Pig Improvement Company) pigs (60.1±1.2 kg; eight gilts and eight barrows) were randomly assigned to one of the two dietary groups, with four pens/group (per pen: one gilt, one barrow). The pigs were fed with a basal diet containing 0 (control) or 250 mg HEs /kg diet for 47 days. The results indicated that herbal extract supplementation led to an increase (P<0.05) on the average daily gain and serum IGF-I level, and a decrease (P<0.05) on serum malondialdehyde and feed conversion ratio. However, feed intake was not affected (P>0.05). IGF-I, insulin receptor mRNA levels (liver, stomach, duodenum, muscle) and IGF-I receptor (IGFIR) mRNA (stomach, duodenum, muscle) were high (P<0.05), while the level of IGF-IR mRNA was low (P<0.05) in the liver tissue compared with the control pigs. The results suggest that herbal extract supplementation has an antioxidant capacity, enhance the growth performance and exhibits tissue-specific regulation of IGF-IR mRNA level. In addition, the results also suggest the possible physiological role of the IGF system in controlling the HEs-supported growth of finishing pigs.
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