Weaning stress is associated with intestinal health dysfunctions, and it has been studied that glycine is an amino acid with a diverse array of health benefits regarding metabolism, immunity, and development. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that glycine supplementation alters the intestinal microbial composition and improves the intestinal mucosal immunity of weaned piglets. One hundred and twenty-eight weaned piglets divided into 4 groups were fed with a corn- and soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 0 (control), 0.5, 1, or 2% glycine for 7 days. The fresh colonic contents and jejunum tissue samples from the control and the 2% glycine-supplemented piglets were collected for determination of the composition of microbial community and the intestinal mucosal barrier function.
Piglets fed with diet containing 2% glycine, instead of 0.5% or 1% glycine, presented elevated average daily gain and feed conversion ratio, as compared with the control. 2% glycine enhanced the abundance of mucins in the jejunum and ileum and mRNA level of porcine β-defensin (pBD) 2 and pBD-3, as well as the protein level of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in the jejunum. The mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6, and the protein level of phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, nuclear factor-κB p65, and claudin-2 in the jejunum were lower in the 2% glycine group than that in the control. In addition, an elevated ratio of CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocytes was observed in the jejunum of piglets receiving diet supplemented with 2% glycine. The colon content of piglets fed with 2% glycine exhibited a reduction in abundance of pathogenic bacteria (Escherichia-Shigella, Clostridium, and Burkholderiales) and an increase in short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria (Blautia, Lachnospiraceae, Anaerostipes, and Prevotella) in comparison with the control.
It was concluded that dietary supplementation with 2% glycine improves the intestinal immunological barrier function and the microbial composition, therefore, contributing to the growth performance of weaned piglets.
Ji Y, Fan X, Zhang Y, Li J, Dai Z, Wu Z. Glycine regulates mucosal immunity and the intestinal microbial composition in weaned piglets. Amino Acids. 2022: 1-14.