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Amino Acids

, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 2037–2045 | Cite as

Glycine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for maximal growth of milk-fed young pigs

  • Weiwei Wang
  • Zhaolai Dai
  • Zhenlong Wu
  • Gang Lin
  • Sichao Jia
  • Shengdi Hu
  • Sudath Dahanayaka
  • Guoyao Wu
Original Article

Abstract

Analysis of amino acids in milk protein reveals a relatively low content of glycine. This study was conducted with young pigs to test the hypothesis that milk-fed neonates require dietary glycine supplementation for maximal growth. Fourteen-day-old piglets were allotted randomly into one of four treatments (15 piglets/treatment), representing supplementation with 0, 0.5, 1 or 2 % glycine (dry matter basis) to a liquid milk replacer. Food was provided to piglets every 8 h (3 times/day) for 2 weeks. Milk intake (32.0–32.5 g dry matter/kg body weight per day) did not differ between control and glycine-supplemented piglets. Compared with control piglets, dietary supplementation with 0.5, 1 and 2 % glycine increased (P < 0.05) plasma concentrations of glycine and serine, daily weight gain, and body weight without affecting body composition, while reducing plasma concentrations of ammonia, urea, and glutamine, in a dose-dependent manner. Dietary supplementation with 0.5, 1 and 2 % glycine enhanced (P < 0.05) small-intestinal villus height, glycine transport (measured using Ussing chambers), mRNA levels for GLYT1, and anti-oxidative capacity (indicated by increased concentrations of reduced glutathione and a decreased ratio of oxidized glutathione to reduced glutathione). These novel results indicate, for the first time, that glycine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for maximal protein accretion in milk-fed piglets. The findings not only enhance understanding of protein nutrition, but also have important implications for designing improved formulas to feed human infants, particularly low birth weight and preterm infants.

Keywords

Glycine Milk replacer Growth Intestinal morphology Piglet 

Abbreviations

DM

Dry matter

GSH

Reduced glutathione

GSSG

Oxidized glutathione

KHB

Krebs–Henseleit bicarbonate

OPA

o-Phthaldialdehyde

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank students in our laboratories for assistance in this research. This project was supported, in part, by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB127302), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31172217 and 31272450), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2012T50163), the Chinese Universities Scientific Fund (2013RC002), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-12-0522), the Program for Beijing Municipal Excellent Talents, National Research Initiative Competitive Grants from the Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program (2008-35206-18764 and 2014-67015-21770) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research (H-8200).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiwei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaolai Dai
    • 1
  • Zhenlong Wu
    • 1
  • Gang Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sichao Jia
    • 2
  • Shengdi Hu
    • 2
  • Sudath Dahanayaka
    • 2
  • Guoyao Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Animal NutritionChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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