Early-life environmental variation affects intestinal microbiota and immune development in new-born piglets

D.J. Schokker, J. Zhang, L.L. Zhang, S.A. Vastenhouw, H.G.H.J. Heilig, H. Smidt, J.M.J. Rebel, M.A. Smits

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78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background - Early-life environmental variation affects gut microbial colonization and immune competence development; however, the timin Early-life environmental variation affects gut microbial colonization and immune competence development; however, the timing and additional specifics of these processes are unknown. The impact of early-life environmental variations, as experienced under real life circumstances, on gut microbial colonization and immune development has not been studied extensively so far. We designed a study to investigate environmental variation, experienced early after birth, to gut microbial colonization and intestinal immune development. Methodology/Principal Findings - To investigate effects of early-life environmental changes, the piglets of 16 piglet litters were divided into 3 groups per litter and experimentally treated on day 4 after birth. During the course of the experiment, the piglets were kept with their mother sow. Group 1 was not treated, group 2 was treated with an antibiotic, and group 3 was treated with an antibiotic and simultaneously exposed to several routine, but stressful management procedures, including docking, clipping and weighing. Thereafter, treatment effects were measured at day 8 after birth in 16 piglets per treatment group by community-scale analysis of gut microbiota and genome-wide intestinal transcriptome profiling. We observed that the applied antibiotic treatment affected the composition and diversity of gut microbiota and reduced the expression of a large number of immune-related processes. The effect of management procedures on top of the use of an antibiotic was limited. Conclusions/Significance - We provide direct evidence that different early-life conditions, specifically focusing on antibiotic treatment and exposure to stress, affect gut microbial colonization and intestinal immune development. This reinforces the notion that the early phase of life is critical for intestinal immune development, also under regular production circumstances. g and additional specifics of these processes are unknown. The impact of early-life environmental variations, as experienced under real life circumstances, on gut microbial colonization and immune development has not been studied extensively so far. We designed a study to investigate environmental variation, experienced early after birth, to gut microbial colonization and intestinal immune development. Methodology/Principal Findings To investigate effects of early-life environmental changes, the piglets of 16 piglet litters were divided into 3 groups per litter and experimentally treated on day 4 after birth. During the course of the experiment, the piglets were kept with their mother sow. Group 1 was not treated, group 2 was treated with an antibiotic, and group 3 was treated with an antibiotic and simultaneously exposed to several routine, but stressful management procedures, including docking, clipping and weighing. Thereafter, treatment effects were measured at day 8 after birth in 16 piglets per treatment group by community-scale analysis of gut microbiota and genome-wide intestinal transcriptome profiling. We observed that the applied antibiotic treatment affected the composition and diversity of gut microbiota and reduced the expression of a large number of immune-related processes. The effect of management procedures on top of the use of an antibiotic was limited. Conclusions/Significance We provide direct evidence that different early-life conditions, specifically focusing on antibiotic treatment and exposure to stress, affect gut microbial colonization and intestinal immune development. This reinforces the notion that the early phase of life is critical for intestinal immune development, also under regular production circumstances. Figures
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere100040
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • phylogenetic microarray analysis
  • large gene lists
  • gut microbiota
  • staphylococcus-aureus
  • innate immunity
  • responses
  • homeostasis
  • diversity
  • cytoscape
  • system

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