Effects of dairy products on intestinal integrity in heat-stressed pigs

M. Victoria Sanz Fernandez, Sarah C. Pearce, Venkatesh Mani, Nicholas K. Gabler, Lloyd Metzger, John F. Patience, Robert P. Rhoads, Lance H. Baumgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Heat stress compromises intestinal integrity which may partially explain its negative effects on animal health and productivity. Research suggests that challenged intestinal barrier function improves with dietary dairy products in various models. Thus, the study objective was to evaluate the effects of bovine milk whey protein (WP) and colostral whey protein (CWP) on intestinal integrity in heat-stressed pigs. Crossbred gilts (39 ± 3 kg body weight) were fed 1 of 4 diets (n = 8 pigs/diet): control (Ct), control diet containing an 80% WP and 20% CWP product (WP80), control diet containing a 98% WP and 2% CWP product (WP98), and control diet containing a 100% WP product (WP100). After 7d on experimental diets, pigs were exposed to constant heat stress conditions (32 °C) for 24h. There were no treatment differences in growth or body temperature indices prior to heat stress. During heat exposure, both rectal temperature and respiration rate increased (+0.85 °C and 3-fold, respectively; P < 0.01), and feed intake and body weight decreased (44% and -0.5kg, respectively; P < 0.01), but neither variable was affected by dietary treatments. Plasma L-lactate and D-lactate concentrations increased (36%; P < 0.01) and tended to increase (19%; P = 0.09) with heat stress. After 24h of heat exposure, WP100-fed pigs had lower plasma D-lactate relative to Ct-fed pigs. Ileal transepithelial electrical resistance was decreased (37%; P = 0.02) in WP80 pigs, compared with controls. No differences were detected in other intestinal integrity ex vivo measurements. These data demonstrate that dietary WP and CWP did not mitigate intestinal integrity dysfunction during severe heat stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Results described here within were supported by the Midwest Dairy Association, the Fulbright Graduate Student Program for Spaniards from the Commission for Cultural, Educational and Scientific Exchange between the United States of America and Spain; and the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011–67003–30007 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of any of the above mentioned organizations. The authors express their appreciation to Anna Gabler, Martha Jeffrey, Samantha Lei, Dana Van Sambeek, Amir Nayeri, and Jacob Schulte for their assistance in the live and laboratory phases of the experiment.


  • dairy products
  • heat stress
  • intestinal integrity
  • pigs

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