Relative prolactin-to-progesterone concentrations around farrowing influence colostrum yield in primiparous sows.
Loisel, F., Farmer, C., van Hees, H., and Quesnel, H. (2015). "Relative prolactin-to-progesterone concentrations around farrowing influence colostrum yield in primiparous sows.", Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 53, pp. 35-41. doi : 10.1016/j.domaniend.2015.04.005 Access to full text
In swine, colostrum production is induced by the drop of progesterone (P4) concentrations which leads to the prepartum peak of prolactin (PRL). PRL regulates mammary cell turnover and stimulates lacteal nutrient synthesis. P4 inhibits PRL secretion and downregulates the PRL receptor in the mammary gland. The aim of the present study was to determine if the relative prepartum concentrations of P4 and PRL (PRL/P4 ratio) influence sow colostrum production. The performance of 29 Landrace × Large White primiparous sows was analyzed. Colostrum yield was estimated during 24 h starting at the onset of parturition (T0) using litter weight gains. Colostrum was collected at T0 and 24 h later (T24). Repeated jugular blood samples were collected during the peripartum period, that is, from −72 to +24 h related to farrowing and were assayed for P4 and PRL. Sows were retrospectively categorized in 2 groups according to their PRL/P4 ratio 24 h before farrowing being either <2 (low PRL/P4, n = 16) or >3 (high PRL/P4, n = 13). During the peripartum period, the circulating concentrations of P4 were lower (P < 0.05) and those of PRL tended to be greater (P < 0.10) in high PRL/P4 compared with low PRL/P4 sows. Colostrum yield was greater in high PRL/P4 compared with low PRL/P4 sows (4.11 vs 3.48 kg [root mean square error = 0.69], P < 0.05). Colostrum composition (dry matter, energy, protein, lipid, and lactose contents) and IgG and IgA concentrations did not differ between the 2 groups of sows (P > 0.10). The Na/K ratio in colostrum 24 h after the onset of farrowing was lower in high PRL/P4 compared with low PRL/P4 sows (P < 0.05). Piglet mortality between birth and T24 averaged 10.0% in low PRL/P4 litters and 7.0% in high PRL/P4 litters (P = 0.29). In conclusion, a greater PRL/P4 ratio 24 h prepartum, characterized by lower P4 concentrations and a trend for greater PRL concentrations peripartum, led to increased colostrum yield in primiparous sows.
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