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Development of an oxidative stress model in weaned piglets highlighting plasma biomarkers specificity to different stress inducers

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In order to determine the effects of vaccination, heat stress and dietary antioxidant concentration and investigate some blood parameters as an effective model of oxidative stress, 360 weaned piglets (8.7 ± 1.6 kg) were randomly affected to eight groups in a 2x2x2 factorial design. Vaccination at weaning against PCV2 and porcine influenza, heat stress at days 9-10, 23-24 and 37-38 (37°C over 2×6h periods), or controls, were applied to piglets which were given from weaning to day 14, NRC (2012) levels for vitamin E and selenium or extra supplementation in vitamin E, selenium and Superoxide Dismutase-rich melon pulp concentrate. Piglets were housed in 2 identical rooms, with 3 pens per treatment and 15 piglets per pen. Blood samples were taken from 6 piglets per treatment at days 13 and 40, and plasma haptoglobin, gluthatione peroxidase activity, protein and lipid peroxides were determined. Half-time to haemolyse (T1/2) red blood cells (RBC) exposed to a controlled free radical attack was determined in full blood and RBC concentrate.
Both vaccination and heat stress decreased feed intake and daily gain (p<0.05) from day 14 to 41. Whole blood and RBC T1/2 were increased by antioxidant supplementation (p<0.01) and decreased by heat stress (p<0.05). The antioxidant supplementation also increased gluthatione peroxidase activity (p<0.001). Vaccination induced higher haptoglobin and lipid peroxide concentrations (p<0.001). Plasma biomarkers were therefore specifically responsive to either vaccination or antioxidant supplementation and heat. This model of oxidative stress highlights the need to finely select the biomarkers related to each specific stressor.

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