ORIGINAL PAPER
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Weaning is a stressful period that impacts piglet health leading to decreased performance and sometimes mortality. In recent years, public and scientific interest in dietary plant extracts tremendously increased because of their biological benefits. We hypothesized that the extract of the Indian frankincense Boswellia serrata, especially known for its anti-inflammatory properties, could affect piglets in the postweaning period when inflammation plays a crucial role. Eighty weaned piglets (40 gilts and 40 barrows, initial average body weight 10.0 ± 0.43 kg) were randomly assigned to one of two dietary treatments: control (CON) or CON diet supplemented with 1 kg/t of B. serrata (BOSW). The trial lasted 28 days. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and the end of the trial. Skin lesions and thermal imaging were evaluated weekly. Growth performance, wellbeing parameters and gene expression levels of cytokines were not affected (P > 0.05), except for a trend in lower gene expression of interleukin(IL)-10 in BOSW group (P = 0.07). Time effect (P < 0.01) was observed for gene expression of IL-4, IL-6, IL-8 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and sex effect (P < 0.05) was noted for gene expression of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, showing higher values for male than female piglets. Time changes in reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs) blood concentration (ΔROMs) tended to be slower in BOSW group than in CON group (P = 0.056). These preliminary results indicate the need to investigate further doses and length of supplementation of B. serrata to verify the potential effects reported in other livestock species.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors thank the University of Milano, for financial support (Linea 2, 2017). The authors are also grateful to Dr. Pellacini Mario and Dr. Pizzi Barbara for their technical and practical support in the field and Roberta Torinesi for taking part to the laboratory assays.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
 
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