Cromolyn, a mast cell stabilising agent, is associated with improving the intestinal barrier function of pigs, and therefore with enhanced post-weaning piglet performance.
This was concluded in a study published in BMC Veterinary Research, carried out by scientists from Michigan State University, USA, the University of Kiel, Germany and animal nutrition company Lucta, Spain.
Weaning stress causes barrier dysfunction
In the article, the researchers explain that previous work already showed that weaning stress causes gut barrier dysfunction partly by triggering the release of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and thereby inducing the degranulation of intestinal mast cell (MC).
They continue by saying they therefore investigated the hypothesis that attenuating the weaning-induced activation of the CRF-MC axis via administration of cromolyn may improve gut permeability and piglet performance after weaning.
The researchers write: "To test the hypothesis, 20 piglets of roughly 20 days and on average 6.4 kg bodyweight, were weaned and injected intraperitoneally. In total, 10 piglets received an injection with saline (control group), and 10 received 20 mg/kg bodyweight of sodium cromolyn at – 0.5, 8 and 16 hours relative to weaning.
Trials in Lucta test lab, Girona, Spain
In Lucta's Swine Experimental Unit, in Girona, Spain, piglets were housed individually and fed ad libitum a pre-starter diet from one to 15 days post-weaning followed by a starter diet until the end of the study on day 36.
In the article, the researchers say, "Cromolyn improved intestinal permeability as indicated by the reduced recovery of cobalt and mannitol in plasma samples. Cromolyn treated pigs consumed more feed (369 vs. 313 g/d), gained more body weight (283 vs. 238 g/d), and grew more efficiently (0.60 vs. 0.40) than their control counterparts.
The researchers conclude that cromolyn treated pigs were 1.4 kg heavier than those in the control group by day 36 after weaning (16.5 vs. 17.9 kg), see also Table 1.
Improvement of intestingal permeability
The team of scientists closes off saying that, "In agreement with our hypothesis, present data indicate that the cromolyn-mediated improvement of intestinal permeability is associated with enhanced pig performance after weaning."
The research was carried out by Adam J. Moeser, Michigan State University, MI, United States; Gerald Rimbach, University of Kiel, Germany; Alessandro Mereu, Gemma Tedó, Lucta, Spain; and Ignacio R. Ipharraguerre, attached to both Lucta and the University of Kiel.