Metabolomics revealed diurnal heat stress and zinc supplementation-induced changes in amino acid, lipid, and microbial metabolism

Lei Wang, Pedro E. Urriola, Zhao Hui Luo, Zachary J. Rambo, Mark E. Wilson, Jerry L. Torrison, Gerald C. Shurson, Chi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Heat stress (HS) dramatically disrupts the events in energy and nutrient metabolism, many of which requires zinc (Zn) as a cofactor. In this study, metabolic effects of HS and Zn supplementation were evaluated by examining growth performance, blood chemistry, and metabolomes of crossbred gilts fed with ZnNeg (no Zn supplementation), ZnIO (120 ppm ZnSO4), or ZnAA (60 ppm ZnSO4 + 60 ppm zinc amino acid complex) diets under diurnal HS or thermal-neutral (TN) condition. The results showed that growth performance was reduced by HS but not by Zn supplementation. Among measured serum biochemicals, HS was found to increase creatinine but decrease blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level. Metabolomic analysis indicated that HS greatly affected diverse metabolites associated with amino acid, lipid, and microbial metabolism, including urea cycle metabolites, essential amino acids, phospholipids, medium-chain dicarboxylic acids, fatty acid amides, and secondary bile acids. More importantly, many changes in these metabolite markers were correlated with both acute and adaptive responses to HS. Relative to HS-induced metabolic effects, Zn supplementation-associated effects were much more limited. A prominent observation was that ZnIO diet, potentially through its influences on microbial metabolism, yielded different responses to HS compared with two other diets, which included higher levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in cecal fluid and higher levels of lysine in the liver and feces. Overall, comprehensive metabolomic analysis identified novel metabolite markers associated with HS and Zn supplementation, which could guide further investigation on the mechanisms of these metabolic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12676
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a research grant from Zinpro Corporation and the Agricultural Experiment Station project MIN-18-082 (C. Chen) from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors.


  • Heat stress
  • Metabolism
  • Metabolomics
  • Zinc supplementation


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