Analysis of gastrointestinal responses revealed both shared and specific targets of zinc oxide and carbadox in weaned pigs

Yuan-Tai Hung, Qiong Hu, Richard J. Faris, Juanjuan Guo, Pedro E. Urriola, Gerald C. Shurson, Chi Chen, Milena Saqui‐salces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Antibiotics and pharmacological zinc supplementation were commonly used as growth promoters for several decades in the swine industry before being limited because of public health and environmental concerns. Further, the physiological and metabolic responses associated with their growth promotion effects are unclear. To characterize these responses induced by pharmacological zinc supplementation (2500 mg/kg) and carbadox (55 mg/kg), 192 post‐weaning pigs were fed basal and test diets for 43 days. Compared with basal, pharmacological zinc and carbadox independently improved growth performance. Pharmacological zinc increased gastric mucosa thickness compared with basal zinc, while carbadox increased intestinal villus:crypt ratio compared with non‐carbadox. Pharmacological zinc and carbadox independently reduced interleukin (IL)‐1β concentration compared with basal zinc and non‐carbadox. Pharmacological zinc increased IL‐1RA:IL‐1 ratio by 42% compared with basal zinc, while carbadox tended to increase the IL‐10 and IL10:IL‐12 ratio compared with non‐carbadox. Carbadox increased fecal concentrations of histidine and lysine compared with non‐carbadox. The independent effect of pharmacological zinc and carbadox on morphology and nutrient metabolism, and their shared effect on immunity may contribute to the additive effect on growth promotion. These results further confirmed the concept that growth promotion is multifactorial intervention. Therefore, elucidating growth‐promoting effects and searching for alternatives should include wide‐spectrum evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number463
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was partially supported by Cargill Animal Nutrition and Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station funds: MAES Funding Project MIN‐16‐112, MIN‐16‐117, and MIN‐18‐09.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Animal production
  • Carbadox
  • Cytokines
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Gut metabolites
  • Zinc oxide


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of gastrointestinal responses revealed both shared and specific targets of zinc oxide and carbadox in weaned pigs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this