Morphological changes in the small intestine of the ...

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Title Morphological changes in the small intestine of the fetal pig after prenatal stimulation of the sow with ACTH
Author(s) B. J. Connell, Lius A. Bate, W. Ireland, R. Acorn
Journal Histology and Histopathology
Date 1995
Volume 10
Issue 2
Start page 255
End page 264
Abstract Twelve pregnant primiparous sows were catheterized on day 102 of gestation and randomly allocated to receive ACTH (days 112-113 of gestation [2d], days 105-parturition [10d]) or saline. At parturition the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th piglet born alive were sacrificed either at birth or at 6 h. The later group was fed bovine colostrum through a stomach tube at 30 min, 2 and 4 h of life. Following sacrifice, the small intestine of each piglet was excised, extended and measured. Piglets from sows in the 2d group tended to be heavier with longer small intestines than either the control or 10d groups. When the small intestine length was expressed as a function of body weight, the 10d group had the greatest ratio, suggesting that the pre-parturition maintenance of elevated cortisol levels either enhanced small intestine growth or attenuated overall weight gain. Two types of enterocyte granules were described at the level of the electron microscope: granular and opaque. Opaque granules from piglets born to sows in the 2d treatment group had both a lower volume fraction and were fewer per unit area when compared to those of either the saline or 10d treatments. The process of macromolecule uptake from the intestinal lumen appeared to have been interfered with as a result of an acute prenatal stimulation with ACTH. The above results suggest that in piglets, the level of circulating cortisol differentially controls the processes of IgG absorption, enterocyte replacement and small intestine growth through separate mechanisms. Further, these processes can be manipulated in the prenatal piglet.

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