Half-life of porcine antibodies absorbed from a colostrum supplement containing
J. Polo,*1 J. M. Campbell,† J. Crenshaw,† C. Rodríguez,* N. Pujol,‡ N. Navarro,‡ and J. Pujols‡§
*APC EUROPE, S.A.,-Granollers, Spain; †APC Inc.,-Ankeny, IA; ‡Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Spain;
and §Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), Barcelona, Spain
1Corresponding author: email@example.com
ABSTRACT: Absorption of immunoglobulins (Ig) at
birth from colostrum is essential for piglet survival.
The objective was to evaluate the half-life of antibodies
absorbed in the bloodstream of newborn piglets orally
fed a colostrum supplement (CS) containing energy
(fat and carbohydrates) and IgG from porcine plasma.
Viable piglets (n = 23; 900 to 1,800 g BW) from 6
sows were colostrum deprived and blood sampled and
within the next 2 h of life randomly allocated to either
control group (n = 9) providing 30 mL of Ig-free milk
replacer or a group (n = 14) receiving 30 mL of CS by
oral gavage. Piglets were transported to a Biosafety
Level 3 facility (Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal,
Spain) and fed Ig-free milk replacer every 3 to 4 h for
15 d. Survival, weight, plasma IgG content by radial
immunodiffusion (RID), and antibodies against porcine
circovirus type 2 (PCV2), porcine parvovirus (PPV),
porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS),
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (Mhy), and swine
infl uenza virus (SIV) were determined by specifi c ELISA
before treatment administration, at 24 h, and weekly for
56 d. Clinical symptoms were not observed for either
group. Mortality index was lower (17 vs. 38%; P < 0.02)
and BW higher (17.7 vs. 15.3 kg; P = 0.035) for pigs
supplemented with CS than piglets in the control group.
At 24 h postadministration, the CS group had a plasma
IgG mean of 7.6 ± 0.06 vs. 0.14 ± 0.03 mg/mL for the
control group. The IgG levels in the CS group decayed
until day 21 when de novo synthesis of IgG was detected
in 25% of piglets. Half-life of antibody concentration
(HLAC) by RID was 6.2 d. In the CS group, effi ciency
of PCV2 and PPV antibody transfer was high. For
PCV2, all animals remained positive by day 56 and the
calculated HLAC was 17.7 d. For PPV, 72.7% of piglets
were ELISA positive by day 35 and HLAC was 12.0
d. For PRRS, all piglets remained positive by day 14
and the calculated HLAC was 11.9 d. For Mhy and SIV
the calculated HLAC were 8.4 and 3.0 d. In summary,
half-life of antibodies derived from blood plasma in the
bloodstream of newborn piglets varied from 3.0 to 17.7
d. The study also confi rm that antibodies derived from
porcine plasma were well absorbed and can be an useful
tool for providing protection against several or specifi c
pathogens and can be a good alternative to formulate
CS for newborn piglets.
Key words: antibodies, half-life, immunoglobulin G, neonatal piglets, porcine plasma
© 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
J. Anim. Sci. 2012.90:308–310
Adequate absorption of immunoglobulins (Ig) at
birth from colostrum is basic for piglet survival because
the piglet is born with low reserves of Ig and energy.
Absorption of Ig from colostrum decreases rapidly
after birth; therefore, an adequate supply of Ig is crucial
for newborn piglets. In low birth weight piglets or
weak piglets with low viability, the ingestion of good
quality colostrum may be limited and thereby increase
the risk of mortality or future immune incompetence.
The absorption of IgG can be as good from colostrum
supplement (CS) containing energy and Ig derived
from porcine plasma as from sow colostrum (Bikker et
al., 2010; Campbell et al., 2012); however, survival of
circulatory antibodies absorbed from porcine plasma
fed in a CS to newborn piglets is unknown. Therefore,
the objective of this study was to evaluate the half-life
of antibodies absorbed in the bloodstream of newborn
piglets orally fed a CS containing energy (fat and
carbohydrates) and IgG from porcine plasma.
Published January 23, 2015
Antibodies in pig colostrum supplement
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The experimental protocol met the standards for
animal experiments and was approved by the Committee
for Animal Experiments of Universitat Autònoma de
Animals and Treatments
Viable piglets (n = 23; 900 to 1,800 g BW; Landrace
× Large White × Duroc) from 6 pharmacologically
induced and individually attended sows were colostrum
deprived at delivery, dried, and allocated to sterilized
boxes. Boxes were transported outside the farm where
piglets were ear tagged, blood sampled, and randomly
allocated to 2 experimental groups. Within the fi rst 2 h of
life, piglets were randomly allocated to either a control
group (n = 9) that were provided 30 mL of Ig-free milk
replacer (Nutriben Natal 900G; Alter Pharma Nutriben,
Madrid, Spain) or a group (n = 14) that received 30 mL
of CS by oral gavage using a gastric catheter (Kendall
catheter 10French from Tyco Healthcare UK Ltd.,
Hampshire, UK). The CS was reconstituted to 42% wt/
wt (84 g powder plus 116 g distilled water preheated to
39°C) by vigorous shaking. Within a time span of 5 to 6
h after farrowing, piglets were transported in warm and
dry conditions to a Biosafety Level 3 facility at Centre de
Recerca en Sanitat Animal (Spain) and housed on a fl oor
heated plate and fed Ig-free liquid milk replacer every 3
to 4 h for 15 d.
The control treatment was used to establish a group
that did not receive any IgG source to determine when
these animals were able to produce their own immunity.
Additionally, these piglets served as sentinel in case of
any infection in the experimental box.
Measurements and Analyses
Survival, individual piglet weight, and blood were
obtained at birth, 24 h later, and weekly during 8 wk.
Blood samples were taken from the jugular vein, allowed
to clot for 2 h at room temperature, and refrigerated at
4°C overnight. Serum was separated by centrifugation at
600 × g for 15 min, aliquoted to 5 samples, and stored at
–80ºC until analysis.
The IgG content was analyzed using the radial
immunodiffusion (RID) technique with modifi cations
proposed by Mancini (Bikker et al., 2010). The samples
of serum and CS diluted at 10% were also analyzed to
determine antibodies against porcine circovirus type 2
(PCV2) by immunoperoxidase monolayer assay (IPMA)
technique (Rodríguez-Arrioja et al., 2000), porcine
parvovirus (PPV) by ELISA Kit INGEZIM 11.PPV.K1
(Ingenasa, Madrid, Spain), porcine reproductive and
respiratory syndrome (PRRS) by ELISA Kit IDEXX
Herd-Chek PRRS X3 (IDEXX Laboratorios, Barcelona,
Spain), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (Mhy) by ELISA
Kit IDEXX Herd-Chek Mhyo (IDEXX Laboratorios,
Barcelona, Spain), and swine infl uenza virus (SIV) by
ELISA Kit INGEZIM 1.1.FLU.K1 (Ingenasa, Madrid,
Animal weights and Ig levels were analyzed by
repeated measures ANOVA using the Tukey-Kramer
for multiple comparisons or alternatively the GLM
procedure (NCSS and PASS; Statistical Systems,
Kaysville, UT). For treatment of parametric data, the
individual animal was considered the experimental unit.
Statistical differences were considered signifi cant when
P < 0.05.
Nonparametric data on mortality proportions were
analyzed by chi-square test and Yates correction. Half-life
of absorbed Ig were calculated from the log2 (IPMA titers)
or natural log regression of mean plasma Ig concentration
by RID or ELISA optical density vs. time.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Clinical symptoms were not observed for either
group. Mortality index was lower for the fi rst month (0
vs. 38%; P < 0.001) and overall period (17 vs. 38%; P <
0.02). The BW was higher (17.7 vs. 15.3 kg; P = 0.035)
for pigs supplemented with CS than the control group. At
Figure 1. Evolution of immunoglobulin levels in the serum of piglets
after administration of either colostrum supplement (CS) or milk replacer
formula (Control) administered by intragastric route. Within time point,
means without a common superscript differ (P < 0.05).
Figure 2. The immunoperoxidase monolayer assay antibodies to porcine
circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in serum of piglets after intragastric administration
of colostrum supplement (CS) or milk replacer formula (Control). Results are
expressed as Log 2 of the reciprocal of serum dilution (black dot indicates the
antibody levels against PCV2 of the powder CS product diluted 1:10).
Polo et al.
24 h postadministration, the CS group had a plasma IgG
mean of 7.6 vs. 0.14 mg/mL for the control group (P <
0.05; Figure 1). The IgG levels in the CS group decayed
until day 21 when de novo synthesis of IgG was detected
in 25% of piglets; however, de novo synthesized IgG did
not reach a similar level to day 1 until day 35. In both
groups, maximum IgG levels were achieved between
day 49 and day 56. Half-life of antibody concentration
(HLAC) by RID was calculated to be 6.24 d.
In the CS group, effi ciency of PCV2, PPV, and PRRS
antibody transfer was high. For PCV2 antibody, all
animals remained positive until day 56 and HLAC was
17.7 d (Figure 2). For PPV, 72.7% of piglets were ELISA
positive by day 35 and HLAC was 12.0 d. For PRRS,
100% of piglets were positive by day 14 and HLAC
was 11.9 d. Transfer of antibodies for Mhy and SIV in
reference to antibody levels in CS was low. Calculated
HLAC for Mhy and SIV antibodies were 8.4 and 3.0
d and by day 14 the percentage of animals with these
antibodies was 33 and 0%, respectively. The uptake and
half-life of porcine supplemented antibodies varied by
antibody with greater absorption and duration for PCV2,
PPV, and PRRS than SIV or Mhy.
The IgG concentrations in piglets at 24 h of age
ranged from 18.7 to 39.0 mg/mL and then decreased
gradually to 6.3 mg/mL at days 36 to 40 (Bourne, 1973).
However, these pigs had access to continued ingestion
of colostrum during fi rst 24 h with an estimated intake
of 200 to 300 mL (Le Dividich et al., 2005); therefore,
their value in blood is higher than in our study in which
we only provided 30 mL of IgG during the fi rst 2 h of
age. Bikker et al. (2010) provided a CS or sow colostrum
similarly as used in the present study and reported similar
IgG values. According to Curtis and Bourne (1971), the
half-life of colostral IgG was 14 d, which was higher than
the present study, although we obtained similar half-life
for certain antibodies such as PCV2, PPV, or PRRS as
reported for colostral antibodies.
In conclusion, half-life of antibodies derived from
blood plasma in the bloodstream of newborn piglets
varied from 3.0 to 17.7 d depending on the specifi c
antibodies analyzed. Furthermore, antibodies derived
from porcine plasma are well absorbed and can be
useful to provide protection against several or specifi c
pathogens and can be a good alternative to formulate CS
for newborn piglets.
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