Time course of increased plasma cytokines, cortisol, and urea nitrogen in pigs following intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide

D M Webel, B N Finck, D H Baker, R W Johnson
Journal of Animal Science 1997, 75 (6): 1514-20
The emerging view is that reduced feed intake, lean muscle accretion, and growth in immunologically challenged pigs is the result of increased cytokine activity, but this has not been directly tested. To begin addressing this issue, 72 crossbred barrows and gilts (11.55 +/- .19 kg BW) were not fed for 12 h and then injected i.p. with 0, .5, or 5 micrograms/kg of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Blood was collected by jugular puncture at 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 h after injection. Plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6), cortisol, plasma urea nitrogen (PUN), NEFA, and triglycerides were determined. Immunological stress was induced by LPS as indicated by increased secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-6, and cortisol. In pigs receiving 5 micrograms/kg of LPS, plasma TNF-alpha was increased 10-fold at 2 h after injection and was still elevated (P < .01) at 4 h. In these same pigs, plasma concentration of IL-6 was increased at 2 h and peaked at 4 h with levels exceeding baseline values by 200-fold (P < .01). Cortisol was elevated at 2, 4, and 8 h after injection (P < .01). The increased secretion of cytokines and cortisol in pigs injected with 5 micrograms/kg of LPS was followed by an increase in protein degradation, as evidenced by PUN values that were increased two- and threefold at 8 and 12 h after injection, respectively. However, unlike previous reports in laboratory animal species, plasma glucose, NEFA, and triglycerides were not altered by LPS. Nonetheless, as the period of feed deprivation progressed from 12 to 36 h, plasma NEFA and triglycerides increased (P < .05) and plasma glucose tended to decrease. We believe that immunological challenge induces cytokine synthesis and secretion in swine which, in turn, may induce protein catabolism.

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