Cysteamine improves growth performance and gastric ghrelin expression in preweaning piglets
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of cysteamine on growth performance of preweaning piglets and gastric expression of ghrelin mRNA in vivo and in vitro. Twelve litters of newborn piglets were allocated randomly to control and treatment groups. From 15 d of age, piglets in the control group were fed basal creep diet, whereas the treatment group received basal diet supplemented with 120 mg cysteamine per kg of diet until weaning on 35 d of age. Body weight gain, creep feed consumption, and diarrhea rates were recorded, and gastric mucosal tissues were collected for quantifying mRNA expression. To evaluate the direct effect of cysteamine on gastric ghrelin expression, primary cultures of gastric mucosal cells isolated from 35-d-old piglets were exposed to cysteamine for 20 h at 0, 1, 10, and 100 g/mL, respectively. Dietary cysteamine increased (P 0.05) average daily creep feed consumption and BW gain in preweaning pigs, which was accompanied by reduction in diarrhea rates. At 35 d of age, piglets treated with cysteamine showed increased (P 0.05) ghrelin and gastrin and decreased (P 0.05) somatostatin mRNA expression in gastric mucosa. Moreover, dietary cysteamine treatment increased serum concentration of gastrin (P 0.05). In vitro, cysteamine significantly increased ghrelin mRNA expression in gastric mucosal cells at the concentration of 10 g/mL. In conclusion, dietary cysteamine is effective in improving the growth performance and health condition of preweaning piglets, which is associated with its stimulatory effects on gastric ghrelin mRNA expression both in vivo and in vitro.