Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The protective milk shot – How mother’s milk protects piglets from parasite infections

23.05.2014

Coccidiosis is a serious disease in new-born piglets. Caused by the parasite Cystoisospora suis, it exclusively infects pigs and often causes severe diarrhoea in suckling piglets. Parasitologists at the Vetmeduni Vienna have developed a new strategy for protecting the piglets: They infected sows with the pathogen during pregnancy. Antibodies against C. suis and other immune cells produced by the mother were transferred to the piglets through the milk, protecting them against serious infections. The results were published in the scientific journal Veterinary Parasitology.

Antibodies against C. suis are transferred via the sow’s very first milk to the piglets immediately after birth. This was discovered by veterinarian and parasitologist Lukas Schwarz and his colleagues in 2013.


Piglets from infected sows are protected from severe infections.

Photo: Lukas Schwarz / Vetmeduni Vienna

These findings prompted the researchers at the Institute for Parasitology to look for a way to increase the level of these antibodies in sows. The ultimate goal was to provide the piglets with as much antibodies as possible via their mother’s milk during the first few days of life.

Piglets from infected mothers are healthier

The idea paid off. Piglets from infected sows suffered less from the infection than piglets from non-infected sows. Overall offspring from immunised mothers had less severe diarrhoea or no diarrhoea at all. Piglets that became ill recovered faster and excreted fewer parasites compared to those from non-immunised sows.

“An infection with Cystoisospora suis causes serious gastrointestinal disease in piglets. The infection is continues completely asymptomatic in adult pigs”, explains lead author Schwarz.

Sows produce antibodies for their offspring

To stimulate antibody production against Cystoisospora suis in sows, researchers exposed pregnant sows to infectious stages (oocysts) of the parasite two weeks before parturition. Oocysts as the primarily infectious stage stick to the floor and other objects in the farrowing barns. Piglets ingest them and the parasite colonizes the gut, attacking the mucous membrane.

The parasites multiply in the body before being excreted and the cycle starts again. Cystoisospora suis can survive in pigsties for a number of months and is very hard to kill. This leaves farmers faced with the likelihood of new infections. Sows also ingest the parasite, but due to age resistance they are not affected by this coccidian parasite.

High concentrations of antibodies against the parasites are passed on to the piglets in the first few hours of life through their mother’s milk, where they enter the blood stream and the intestines of the newborns who cannot yet produce their own antibodies. These maternal antibodies protect the piglets from infections in the first few weeks of life. The higher the concentration of antibodies in the sow’s milk, the better protected her offspring are.

More antibodies mean less diarrhoea

Piglets with milder symptoms showed higher concentrations of IgA in their blood. These immunoglobulins are not just in the bloodstream, they are primarily found on the surface of the mucous membranes including the intestines where they serve as a defence against pathogens. Researchers found equally high levels of IgA in the blood of the infected mothers. “To date it has been assumed that immunoglobulins do not play a role in the course of swine coccidiosis. Our results provide the first indications that immunoglobulins could actually be quite important. Additional studies are required to identify the exact role played by the antibodies”, Schwarz explains.

Protective milk as the basis for a vaccine

Researchers found particularly high concentrations of IgA in the very first milk known as colostrum, a highly nutritious milk all mammals ingest during the first days of life. This form of “milk vaccination” might serve as a basis for developing an immunisation strategy to prevent swine coccidiosis.

“There are some effective medications for swine coccidiosis, but we would like to use the piglet’s immune response to stop it in its tracks before the infection even gets started,” lead author Lukas Schwarz concludes.

The importance of Cystoisospora suis

Neonatal porcine coccidiosis caused by Cystosisospora suis is a severe parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of neonatal piglets caused by the unicellular organism Cystoisospora suis. Coccidiosis is associated with extensive destruction of the gut mucosa and thus with reduced food conversion, causing decreased weight gain and economic losses for farmers. Infection with Cystoisospora suis results in heavy diarrhoea and may cause fatalities if secondary bacterial infections are present. For animal welfare considerations as well as for economic reasons there is considerable interest in trying to control the disease.

The article „Superinfection of sows with Cystoisospora suis ante partum leads to a milder course of cystoisosporosis in suckling piglets”, by Lukas Schwarz, Hanna Lucia Worliczek, Max Winkler and Anja Joachim was published in the journal Veterinary Parasitology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.04.026

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Lukas Schwarz
University Clinic for Swine
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-6848
lukas.schwarz@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/infoservice/presseinformation/press-releases-2014/...

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Veterinary coccidiosis concentrations diarrhoea infections parasite parasites

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>