Effect of metabolic imprinting on growth and development in piglets

Jae-Hyoung Ryu1   Yoo-Kyung Lee2   Sung-Back Cho2   Ok-Hwa Hwang2   Sung-Kwon Park1,*   

1Department of Food Science & Technology, Sejong University
2National Institute of Animal Science, R.D.A.


It has long been known that nutritional and environmental influences during the early developmental period affect the biological mechanisms which determine animal metabolism. This phenomenon, termed ‘metabolic imprinting’, can cause subtle but long-lasting responses to prenatal and postnatal nutrition and even be passed onto the next generation. A large amount of research data shows that nutrient availability, in terms of quantity as well as quality, during the early developing stages can decrease the number of newborn piglets and their body weight and increase their susceptibility to death before weaning. However, investigation of potential mechanisms of ‘the metabolic imprinting’ effect have been scant. Therefore, it remains unknown which factors are responsible for embryonic and early postnatal nutrition and which factors are major determinants of body weight and number of new born piglets. Intrauterine undernutrition, for example, was studied using a rat model providing dams 50% restricted nutrients during pregnancy and the results showed significant decreases in birth weight of newborns. This response may be a characteristic of a subset of modulations in embryonic development which is caused by the metabolic imprinting. Underlying mechanisms of intrauterine undernutrition and growth retardation can be explained in part by epigenetics. Epigenetics modulate animal phenotypes without changes in DNA sequences. Epigenetic modifications include DNA methylation, chromatin modification and small non-coding RNA-associated gene silencing.. Precise mechanisms must be identified at the morphologic, cellular, and molecular levels by using interdisciplinary nutrigenomics approaches to increase pig production. Experimental approaches for explaining these potential mechanisms will be discussed in this review.


본 논문은 농촌진흥청 공동연구사업(과제번호: PJ010263, 미생물 기질과 미생물의 융복합 기술을 활용한 돈사 악취저감 효율 증진 연구)의 지원에 의해 이루어진 것임.

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