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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of a probiotic on the morphology and mucin composition of pig intestine

Salvatore Desantis, Maria Mastrodonato, Gianluca Accogli, Giacomo Rossi, Alberto Maria Crovace
Histology and Histopathology 2019 March 27, : 18106
30916355
Although the use of probiotics in human and animal medicine is growing, their mode of action remains poorly understood. This study examined the effects of a multi-strain probiotic (SLAB51™) on the morphology and carbohydrate composition of mucins secreted by goblet cells of intestinal crypts in growing-finishing pigs. Sections of duodenum, caecum and colon from pigs fed for 12 weeks with an orally administered control basal diet (No-Pro) or one with a probiotic blend (Pro) were processed for microscopic analysis and stained with (1) haematoxylin-eosin for structural and morphometrical investigation; (2) conventional histochemistry (periodic acid-Schiff, Alcian Blue pH 2.5, high iron diamine staining) for neutral, acidic non-sulphated, and sulphated mucin analysis; and (3) FITC-labelled MAA-II and SNA lectins for α2,3- and α2,6-sialomucin identification. Compared with No-Pro samples, Pro samples displayed (1) increased goblet cell numbers in all investigated tract crypts; (2) an increase in acidic non-sulphomucins but a decrease in neutral, sulphated and α2,6-sialomucin-secreting goblet cells in the duodenum; (3) decreased crypt depth, an increase in α2,6-sialomucin secretory goblet cells, and a loss of goblet cell-secreting α2,3-sialomucins, which appeared on the apical surface of crypt fundus epithelial cells in the caecum; and (4) an increase in α2,6-sialomucin-producing goblet cells in the colon. Results suggest that treatment with SLAB51™induces region-specific changes in the morphology and carbohydrate composition of mucins secreted along intestinal tracts of growing-finishing pigs. These changes could ameliorate the health status of the animals, which displayed higher growth performance and meat quality than controls (Tufarelli et al., 2017).

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