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Open AccessArticle

Chloroquine Downregulation of Intestinal Autophagy to Alleviate Biological Stress in Early-Weaned Piglets

Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry Production, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China
State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
College of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100008, China
College of Animal Science and Technology, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China
Yunnan Yin Yulong Academician Workstation at Yunnan, Yin Yulong Academician Workstation, Yunnan Xinan Tianyou Animal Husbandry Technology co. Ltd., Kunming 650032, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 290; (registering DOI)
Received: 7 January 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 12 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
Weaning is one of the biggest challenges in a pig’s life. Autophagy is a catabolic process aimed at recycling cellular components and damaged organelles in response to diverse stress conditions. There are two autophagy-modifying agents, rapamycin (RAPA) and chloroquine (CQ), that are often used in vitro and in vivo to regulate this process. We speculated that the regulation of autophagy may have some effect on weaning pressure. In this study, we try to understand the role of autophagy in intestinal barrier function and inflammation during the first week after weaning. We examined the effects of modulation of autophagy via RAPA and CQ on growth performance, immunity, inflammation profile, and the intestinal barrier to find potential value for CQ as a feed additive agent for ameliorating weaning stress.
Early weaning stress impairs the development of gastrointestinal barrier function, causing immune system dysfunctions, reduction in feed intake, and growth retardation. Autophagy was hypothesized to be a key underlying cellular process in these dysfunctions. We conjectured that rapamycin (RAPA) and chloroquine (CQ), as two autophagy-modifying agents, regulate the autophagy process and may produce deleterious or beneficial effects on intestinal health and growth. To explore the effect of autophagy on early weaning stress in piglets, 18 early-weaned piglets were assigned to three treatments (each treatment of six piglets) and treated with an equal volume of RAPA, CQ, or saline. The degree of autophagy and serum concentrations of immunoglobulins and cytokines, as well as intestinal morphology and tight junction protein expression, were evaluated. Compared with the control treatment, RAPA-treated piglets exhibited activated autophagy and had decreased final body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG) (p < 0.05), impaired intestinal morphology and tight junction function, and higher inflammatory responses. The CQ-treated piglets showed higher final BW, ADG, jejuna and ileal villus height, and lower autophagy and inflammation, compared with control piglets (p < 0.05). Throughout the experiment, CQ treatment was beneficial to alleviate early weaning stress and intestinal and immune system dysfunction.
Keywords: autophagy; chloroquine; mucosal barrier; weaning stress; rapamycin autophagy; chloroquine; mucosal barrier; weaning stress; rapamycin
MDPI and ACS Style

Liao, S.; Tang, S.; Chang, M.; Qi, M.; Li, J.; Tan, B.; Gao, Q.; Zhang, S.; Li, X.; Yin, Y.; Sun, P.; Tang, Y. Chloroquine Downregulation of Intestinal Autophagy to Alleviate Biological Stress in Early-Weaned Piglets. Animals 2020, 10, 290.

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