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Pig Journal Volume: 69
Publication date: May 2013

General Section

Microbiota, metabolism and immunity: the role of early-life events in determining piglet performance
M. Bailey, Z. Christoforidou, S. Grierson, M.Lewis, C.Stokes

Increasing evidence over the last decade has suggested that the complex process by which the intestinal tract is colonised with bacteria after birth has profound effects on development, both of the immune system, and of metabolism in human infants. Importantly, it is now apparent that very early-life events may have prolonged, sustained effects on both of these systems. This provides an opportunity for early life intervention in the process of microbial succession in neonatal piglets which may influence basic determinants of performance including response to infectious disease, vaccination, food conversion efficiency and fat deposition. However, our evidence is that the effect of interventions aimed at manipulation of the microbiota are strongly influenced by a range of environmental factors including diet and farm of origin. It seems likely that future strategies may need to take local circumstances into account, in a manner similar to the ‘stratified medicine’ approach in humans. © Copyright The Pig Veterinary Society 2004


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