"Developing Therapies Based on Plant Glycosides of Vitamin D"
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Research Data

Report Summaries

Received during early testing and development of Wean-D.

Vitamin D Proof of Concept Project Summary

Update on Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Nursing Pigs

Published Papers

Demonstrating poor vitamin D status of piglets and determining that even massive dosing of the sow with vitamin D can only improve placental and colostrum delivery of vitamin D slightly.

Effect of sow vitamin D status at parturition on the vitamin D status of neonatal piglets. - Goff JP, Horst RL, Littledike ET. J Nutr. 1984 Jan;114(1):163-9.

Abstract: The plasma concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and vitamin D metabolites were determined in cholecalciferol-treated sows and untreated sows at parturition and their piglets (at birth and at 10 days of age) to determine the relationship between sow vitamin D status and neonatal piglet vitamin D status. At birth, there was a high degree of correlation between sow and piglet plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.944), 24,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.895), and 25,26-dihydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.737). Neonatal piglet plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D was low (42.0 +/- 10.2 pg/ml) and was not correlated with maternal plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (r = 0.022). Neonatal plasma calcium and phosphorus were significantly correlated (P less than 0.05) with maternal plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (r = 0.515 and 0.581, respectively). Parenteral cholecalciferol treatment of sows before parturition proved an effective means of supplementing young piglets with cholecalciferol (via the sow's milk) and its more polar metabolites via placental transport. However, it had no significant effect on either the plasma mineral or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D status of the sow or young piglet.

Demonstrating that today's piglet is generally in a vitamin D insufficient state at weaning and through the first several weeks after weaning, even when the post-weaning diet provides 10 fold the NRC allowance for vitamin D.**

Effect of source and quantity of dietary vitamin D in maternal and creep diets on bone metabolism and growth in piglets. - Witschi AK, Liesegang A, Gebert S, Weber GM, Wenk C. J Anim Sci. 2011 Jun;89(6):1844-52. Epub 2011 Jan 28

Source: Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland. witschan@access.uzh.ch

Abstract: Piglets are born with reduced plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OH-D(3)) and are thus highly predisposed to vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, sow milk contains little vitamin D, and the slow intestinal vitamin D absorption of sows limits the efficacy of dietary vitamin D supplementation. Hence, the neonate depends, to a large extent, on the vitamin D stores built up in fetal tissues from maternal sources. The current study was undertaken to evaluate whether the source and quantity of dietary vitamin D provided to the gestating and lactating sow, and also directly in the form of creep feed to the piglet, would influence the vitamin D status, growth performance, and skeletal development of piglets. A total of 39 primiparous and multiparous sows were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 dietary treatments (13 in each treatment), supplemented with either 5 or 50 μg of the commonly used cholecalciferol (vitamin D(3)) or 50 μg of 25-OH-D(3) per kilogram of feed. By wk 3 of lactation, piglets were offered a creep diet with vitamin D supplementation according to the treatment of the dam, and they were offered the same creep diets after weaning at d 35 of age until they reached a BW of approximately 20 kg. When dietary 25-OH-D(3) was provided, circulating concentrations of 25-OH-D(3) in piglet serum increased (P < 0.05) as early as d 21 and later at d 33 and 77, indicating greater body stores in those animals. Bone-breaking strength and cortical bone mineral content and density at the tibial midshaft of piglets were reduced (P < 0.05) when vitamin D(3) was supplemented at 5 μg/kg compared with the bone traits of other groups, but no differences (P > 0.05) were observed between the 2 other groups. After weaning, ADFI was greater (P < 0.05) and growth performance tended (P = 0.08) to improve when doses of 50 μg/kg were administered, regardless of the vitamin D source. In conclusion, supplementation of the diet with 50 μg/kg of either source of vitamin D was proved to be adequate in meeting the needs of gestating sows and in permitting the accumulation of vitamin D in fetal tissues, as well as for normal skeletal mineralization and growth in the offspring. Furthermore, the markedly improved vitamin D status of piglets whose mothers received 25-OH-D(3) possibly resulted from greater tissue reserves present at birth and a greater availability of vitamin D when released from those stores.