It has been suggested that maternal nutrition during gestation is involved in an offspring’s intestinal development. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the effects of maternal energy on the growth and small intestine development of offspring. After mating, twenty gilts (Large White (LW) breeding, body weight (BW) at 135.54 ± 0.66 kg) were randomly allocated to two dietary treatments: a control diet (CON) group and a high-energy diet (HED) group, respectively. The nutrient levels of the CON were referred to meet the nutrient recommendations by the National Research Council (NRC, 2012), while the HED was designed by adding an amount of soybean oil that was 4.6% of the total diet weight to the CON. The dietary treatments were introduced from day 1 of gestation to farrowing. At day 90 of gestation, day 1 post-birth, and day 28 post-birth, the weights of fetuses and piglets, intestinal morphology, enzyme activities, and gene and protein expressions of intestinal growth factors were determined. The results indicated that the maternal HED markedly increased the BW, small intestinal weight, and villus height of fetuses and piglets. Moreover, the activities of lactase in fetal intestine, sucrase in piglet intestine were markedly increased by the maternal HED. In addition, the maternal HED tended to increase the protein expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) in fetal intestine, associated with significantly increased the gene expression of IGF-1R.
In conclusion, increasing energy intake could promote fetal growth and birth weight, with greater intestinal morphology and enzyme activities.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited