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      Effects of beta-glucan obtained from the Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus and lipopolysaccharide challenge on performance, immunological, adrenal, and somatotropic responses of weanling pigs.

      Journal of animal science
      Animals, Astragalus Plant, chemistry, Blood Glucose, Cell Proliferation, Dinoprostone, blood, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drugs, Chinese Herbal, administration & dosage, pharmacology, Female, Growth Hormone, Hydrocortisone, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, metabolism, Interleukin-1beta, Interleukin-2, Lipopolysaccharides, Lymphocytes, Male, Swine, growth & development, immunology, physiology, Weight Gain, drug effects, beta-Glucans

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          Abstract

          A total of 108 crossbred piglets (7.75 +/- 0.24 kg of BW) weaned at 28 d was used to study the interactive effects of beta-glucan obtained from the Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus (AM) and Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge on performance, immunological, adrenal, and somatotropic responses of weaned pigs. The treatments were in a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement; main effects were level of Astragalus membranaceus glucan (AMG; 0, 500, or 1,000 mg/kg; as-fed basis) and presence of immunological challenge (with or without LPS). The experiment included six replicate pens per treatment and three pigs per pen. Lipopolysaccharide challenges were conducted on d 7 and 21 of the trial. Blood samples were obtained from the vena cava from one pig per pen at 3 h after LPS challenge to determine plasma responses. Weight gain and feed:gain ratio were unaffected by glucan. However, there was a quadratic effect on feed intake (P < 0.05): pigs fed 500 mg of glucan/kg had the highest feed intake. Immunological challenge with LPS decreased weight gain (P = 0.02). An interaction (P = 0.01 to 0.09) between AMG and LPS was observed for glucose, IL-1beta, PGE2, and cortisol. Astragalus membranaceus glucan had a quadratic effect on the plasma concentrations of glucose, IL-1beta, PGE2, and cortisol (P < 0.05) after both LPS challenges. Plasma concentrations of glucose, IL-1beta, PGE2, and cortisol (P < 0.05) were all increased in LPS-challenged pigs compared with the control pigs after both LPS challenges. The IGF-I concentrations were less for LPS-challenged pigs than for unchallenged pigs. The lymphocyte proliferation response of peripheral blood induced by 5 microg of concanavalin A/mL (P < 0.01) and IL-2 bioactivity (P < 0.05) increased linearly with increasing addition of glucan. Pigs challenged with LPS had greater T-lymphocyte proliferation (P = 0.06) and IL-2 bioactivity (P = 0.07) than unchallenged pigs after the first immunological challenge but not after the second. In conclusion, although glucan did not improve pig performance under the conditions of the present experiment, when included at 500 mg/kg, it decreased the release of inflammatory cytokine and corticosteroid and improved the lymphocyte proliferation response of weanling piglets via enhanced IL-2 bioactivity.

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