Expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in intestine of pigs of different ages and hygiene status

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  • Charlotte Lauridsen
  • C Whiting, Denmark
  • M Lewis, Denmark
  • M Bailey, Denmark
  • P Bland, Denmark
  • C Stokes, Denmark
  • Microbiology and Gastrointestinal Health
  • Department of Animal Health and Bioscience
Prostaglandins (PG) are bioactive lipids derived from the metabolism of membrane polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and play important roles in a number of biological processes including cell division, immune responses and wound healing. Cyclooxygenase (COX) is the key enzyme in PG synthesis from arachidonic acid. The hypothesis of the present study was that expression of COX-2 in porcine intestine was dependent on the microbial load and the age of piglets. Piglets were obtained from sows raised either on outdoor free-range farms or on indoor commercial farms, and littermates were divided into three treatments: One group of piglets suckled the sow, a second group was put into an isolator and fed a milk formula, and a third group was put into the isolator fed milk formula and injected with broad spectrum antibiotics. Samples were collected from the 75% level of the small intestine at day 5, 28 and 56 of age. Tissue section from four piglets from each of these six treatment groups was analysed by immunofluorescence for COX-2 and type-IV collagen (basement membrane, defining lamina propria (LP)). Image analysis was used to determine the number of positive pixels expressing LP and epithelial COX-2. COX-2 expressing cells were observed in LP and epithelium in all porcine intestinal samples. When analysing images obtained on day 28, injection of antibiotics seemed to reduce the COX-2 expression in intestinal samples of piglets when compared to other treatments (P = 0.053). No significant effect of farm, treatments or age of piglets was observed on COX-2 expressing data when analysing all data of images obtained at day 28 and 56. By double-labelling experiments, COX-2 was found not to be expressed on cell co-expressing CD45, CD16, CD163 or CD2, thus indicating that mucosal leukocytes, including dendritic cells, macrophages and NK cells did not express COX-2. Future research should investigate the role of COX-2 expression in the digestive tract in relation to pig health
Original languageEnglish
JournalLivestock Science
Pages (from-to)200-203
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Research areas

  • Prostaglandin E2, Milk formular, Antibiotics, Immunofluorescence, Sow milk

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