The British Journal of Nutrition 2005 Nov; 94(5): 753-62.
Humoral defence improvement and haematopoiesis stimulation in sows and offspring by oral supply of shark-liver oil to mothers during gestation and lactation
Romain Mitre, Michel Etienne, Sophie Martinais, Henri Salmon, Patrick Allaume, Philippe Legrand, Alain B Legrand
Shark-liver oil (SLO) contains two bioactive lipids: alkylglycerols and n-3 PUFA. Alkylglycerols have immunostimulating and haematopoietic properties, while n-3 PUFA are essential for optimal neonatal development. We investigated the beneficial effects of dietary supplementation with 32 g SLO/d to twelve pregnant and then lactating sows (from day 80 of pregnancy to weaning) on the growth and immune status of their offspring, compared with a control group. Sows were vaccinated against Aujeszky’s disease 21 d before term. Blood samples were collected from sows before treatment, on delivery and 14 d later, and from five piglets per litter on days 2, 21 and 36 after birth; colostrum and milk samples were collected 12 h, 14 and 28 d postpartum. Compared with controls, supplemented sows had higher levels of both erythrocytes and Hb in their blood, and higher concentrations of IgG, alkylglycerols and n-3 PUFA in their mammary secretions. In piglets from supplemented sows, leucocytes and IgG were higher. Supplementation with SLO resulted in an increase in Aujeszky antibodies in both blood and colostrum of sows after vaccination, together with an increase in Aujeszky antibodies in piglet blood. Our findings demonstrate that improvement of both passive and active immune status in piglets is related to the consumption of alkylglycerols associated with n-3 PUFA in the sow diet. The overall improvement in offspring health status by SLO supplementation to the mother could be of interest for optimisation of the lipid diet during and after pregnancy.