N-Acetylcysteine supplementation alleviates intestinal injury in piglets infected by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.
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Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) infects the intestine of young pigs, but effective measures for prevention and treatment are lacking. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) has been shown to reduce endotoxin-induced intestinal dysfunction. This study was conducted with the PEDV-infected neonatal piglet model to determine the effect of NAC supplementation on intestinal function. Thirty-two 7-day-old piglets were randomly allocated to one of four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design consisting of two liquid diets (0 or 50 mg/kg BW NAC supplementation) and oral administration of 0 or 104.5 TCID50 (50% tissue culture infectious dose) PEDV. On day 7 of the trial, half of the pigs (n = 8) in each dietary treatment received either sterile saline or PEDV (Yunnan province strain) solution at 104.5 TCID50 per pig. On day 10 of the trial, D-xylose (0.1 g/kg BW) was orally administrated to all pigs. One hour later, jugular vein blood samples were collected, and then all pigs were killed to obtain the small intestine. PEDV infection increased diarrhea incidence, while reducing ADG. PEDV infection also decreased plasma D-xylose concentration, small intestinal villus height, mucosal I-FABP and villin mRNA levels but increased mucosal MX1 and GCNT3 mRNA levels (P < 0.05). Dietary NAC supplementation ameliorated the PEDV-induced abnormal changes in all the measured variables. Moreover, NAC reduced oxidative stress, as indicated by decreases in plasma and mucosal H2O2 levels. Collectively, these novel results indicate that dietary supplementation with NAC alleviates intestinal mucosal damage and improves the absorptive function of the small intestine in PEDV-infected piglets.