In modern intensive pig farming, early weaning measures are generally adopted by farms to improve sow production efficiency. However, early weaning often causes weaning stress in piglets, resulting in reduced piglet growth performance and increased mortality, resulting in serious economic losses. Damage and developmental abnormalities of the intestinal epithelium of piglets are considered to be the main hazards caused by weaning stress.
At present, the understanding of intestinal damage caused by early weaning is mostly focused on the mature small intestinal epithelial cell level. The small intestinal epithelial cells of healthy piglets are renewed every 3 to 5 days, which is one of the fastest renewal tissues in the body. The renewal and repair of the intestinal epithelium is driven by small intestinal stem cells in the crypt, while mature intestinal epithelial cells at the villi site no longer proliferate. Therefore, it is particularly important to analyze the mechanism of small intestinal epithelial dysplasia during early weaning from the level of small intestinal stem cells.
The reporter of “China Science News” learned from the Institute of Subtropical Agroecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on May 21 that the research group of Yao Kang, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and researcher of the Institute of Subtropical Ecology, Yin Yulong’s team, analyzed the new mechanism of intestinal epithelial dysplasia during early weaning from the level of small intestinal stem cells. Studies have found that early weaning can inhibit the self-renewal activity of small intestinal stem cells and drive the regenerative function of small intestinal epithelial cells. Primary small intestinal organoid culture experiments have also shown that early weaning inhibits the ability of small intestinal stem cells to drive intestinal epithelial regeneration.
Paper abstract graph. Photo courtesy of interviewee
The study also elucidates the dynamic process by which early weaning can cause atrophy of the small intestinal epithelium, i.e., excessive apoptosis of mature intestinal epithelial cells and a slowing rate of differentiation of small intestinal stem cells into transitional cells jointly lead to atrophy of the small intestinal epithelium during early weaning. In terms of molecular mechanism, the study found that early weaning weakened the activity of the Wnt signaling pathway of small intestinal stem cells, thereby inhibiting the ability of small intestinal stem cells to drive intestinal epithelial regeneration. This study provides a theoretical basis for alleviating intestinal damage caused by early weaning from the perspective of small intestinal stem cells.
Recently, the results were published in Stem Cell Res Ther. Yao Kang is the corresponding author of the paper, and Tian Junquan, a doctoral student at the Institute of Subtropical Ecology, is the first author of the paper. The research was co-funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Frontier Science Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Taishan Industry Leading Talent Program. (Source: Wang Haohao, China Science News)
Related paper information:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-023-03293-9
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