The aim of the present investigation was to study the effect of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis supplemented diet on follicular development and related endocrine parameters, such as estradiol and progesterone levels as well as ghrelin levels in pre-pubertal gilts. Twenty-one 60-day-old Danube White gilts, randomly divided in three groups—control and two experimental—were involved in the experiment. The diet of experimental animals was supplemented with 2 and 3 g of dry biomass/capita daily of the micro alga A. platensis (SP), respectively, during 120 days. Pigs weighing between 109.3 and 114.7 kg were slaughtered at the age of 180 days. The visual macroscopic and histological analysis of removed ovaries was done. Progesterone and estradiol levels by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and ghrelin by ELISE methods were measured. The presence of corpora lutea in the ovaries of animals from all three groups as well as the progesterone and estradiol levels indicated that the animals were cycling and puberty had started at the time of slaughtering. In the SP 3-g group, the number of large follicles and corpora lutea was significantly higher compared to the control group and the corpora albicans were found. A positive correlation was observed between ghrelin and progesterone among all groups as well as between estradiol and ghrelin in the experimental groups independent on dosages of SP. Arthrospira platensis-supplemented diet provoked a successful follicular development and an earlier ovulation during sexual maturation of pigs between 60 and 180 days.
- Arthrospira platensis
- Pre-pubertal pigs