Exocrine pancreatic secretion in pigs fed sow's milk and milk replacer, and its relationship to growth performance

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The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the effects of sow’s milk and 2 milk replacer diets (containing clotting or nonclotting protein sources) on exocrine pancreatic secretion, plasma cholecystokinin, and immunoreactive cationic trypsin in pigs. In addition, the relationship between exocrine pancreatic secretion and growth in milk-fed pigs was studied. In a changeover experiment, 9 chronically catheterized pigs of 6.6 ± 0.19 kg of BW were studied for 3 wk. Pigs were assigned to each of 3 diets. Exocrine pancreatic secretion was measured from the third to the seventh day on each diet. The protein content and trypsin activity of the pancreatic juice were measured. Blood samples were taken at 10 min before and after milk ingestion and were analyzed for cholecystokinin and immunoreactive cationic trypsin. Pancreatic protein and trypsin secretion did not differ between pigs fed sow’s milk and those fed milk replacer, but the volume secreted was less for the pigs fed sow’s milk (0.75 vs. 1.03 mL·kg–1·h–1; P < 0.01). A postprandial response to milk intake was not observed. The 2 milk replacer diets did not affect exocrine pancreatic secretion differently. The average exocrine pancreatic secretion (volume, 0.94 mL·kg–1·h–1; protein, 4.28 mg·kg–1·h–1; trypsin, 1.65 U·kg–1·h–1) was intermediate between literature values for suckling and weaned pigs. Plasma cholecystokinin was elevated (18 pmol·L–1) and showed low correlations with the pancreatic secretion traits. Plasma immunoreactive cationic trypsin was not significantly related to any of the pancreatic secretion traits and should therefore not be used as an indicator for exocrine pancreatic function in milk-fed pigs. Exocrine pancreatic secretion varied substantially among individual pigs (protein, 0.22 to 13.98 mg·kg–1·h–1). Pancreatic protein and trypsin secretion showed a positive, nonlinear relationship with performance traits. It was concluded that neither specific sow’s milk ingredients nor the protein source are responsible for a low pancreatic protein secretion in suckling pigs. Exocrine pancreatic secretion was positively correlated with ADG in pigs at an identical milk intake.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • growth • milk replacer • pancreas • pancreatic secretion • pig • sow’s milk
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-412
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch