Microbial insight into dietary protein source affects intestinal function of pigs with intrauterine growth retardation

  • Lianqiang CheEmail author
  • Liang Hu
  • Qiang Zhou
  • Xie Peng
  • Yang Liu
  • Yuheng Luo
  • Zhengfeng Fang
  • Yan Lin
  • Shengyu Xu
  • Bin Feng
  • Jian Li
  • Jiayong Tang
  • De Wu
Original Contribution



Dietary protein, as important macronutrient, is vital for intestinal function and health status. We aimed to determine the effects of dietary protein source on growth performance and intestinal function of neonates with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) in a pig model.


Eighteen pairs of IUGR and normal birth weight (NBW) weaned pigs were allotted to be fed starter diet containing soybean protein concentrate (SPC) or spray-dried porcine plasma (SDPP) for 2 weeks. Growth performance, antioxidant variables, intestinal morphology and absorption capability, microbiota composition and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were assessed.


IUGR led to poor growth performance, absorption capability and changes on antioxidant variables, while SDPP diet improved the growth performance, diarrhea index, intestinal morphology and antioxidant variables of IUGR or NBW pigs relative to that fed SPC diet. Importantly, SDPP diet improved bacterial diversity and increased the abundance of phylum Firmicutes, but decreased the phylum Proteobacteria in colonic digesta, associating with higher genera Lactobacillus and lower genera EscherichiaShigella, linking to the increased concentration of SCFA.


Our findings indicate that IUGR impairs the growth rate, intestinal function and oxidative status of weaned pigs, which could be partly improved by SDPP diet either for IUGR or NBW pigs, associating with the better antioxidant capability, composition of microbiotas and their metabolites.


Protein source Pig Oxidative stress Low birth weight Bacteria 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31101727); the International Cooperation in Science and Technology Project of Sichuan Province (2014HH0034); and the Natural Science Foundation of Sichuan Province (12ZA110).

Author contributions

The authors’ responsibilities were as follows: LQC, LH, DW and ZFF: designed the research; LH, QZ, XP, YL, JYT and YHL: conducted the research; YL, SYX, BF and JL: analyzed the data; LH: wrote the manuscript; LQC: had primary responsibility for the final contents; and all authors: read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no completing interests.

Ethical statement

The use of animals for this research was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Sichuan Agricultural University.

Supplementary material

394_2019_1910_MOESM1_ESM.docx (322 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 321 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lianqiang Che
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Liang Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qiang Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xie Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuheng Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhengfeng Fang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yan Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shengyu Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bin Feng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiayong Tang
    • 1
    • 2
  • De Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Animal NutritionSichuan Agricultural UniversityYa’anChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Animal Disease-Resistance NutritionMinistry of EducationYa’anChina

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