Heat stress in pigs and broilers: role of gut dysbiosis in the impairment of the gut-liver axis and restoration of these effects by probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics




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Heat stress is one of the most challenging stressors for animal production due to high economic losses resulting from impaired animal’s productivity, health and welfare. Despite the fact that all farm animal species are susceptible to heat stress, birds and pigs are particularly sensitive to heat stress due to either lacking or non-functional sweat glands. Convincing evidence in the literature exists that gut dysbiosis, a term used to describe a perturbation of commensal gut microbiota, develops in broilers and pigs under heat stress. Owing to the protective role of commensal bacteria for the gut barrier, gut dysbiosis causes a disruption of the gut barrier leading to endotoxemia, which contributes to the typical characteristics of heat stressed broilers and growing and growing-finishing pigs, such as reduced feed intake, decreased growth and reduced lean carcass weight. A substantial number of studies have shown that feeding of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics is an efficacious strategy to protect broilers from heat stress-induced gut barrier disruption through altering the gut microbiota and promoting all decisive structural, biochemical, and immunological elements of the intestinal barrier. In most of the available studies in heat stressed broilers, the alterations of gut microbiota and improvements of gut barrier function induced by feeding of either probiotics, prebiotics or synbiotics were accompanied by an improved productivity, health and/or welfare when compared to non-supplemented broilers exposed to heat stress. These findings indicate that the restoration of gut homeostasis and function is a key target for dietary interventions aiming to provide at least partial protection of broilers from the detrimental impact of heat stress conditions. Despite the fact that the number of studies dealing with the same feeding strategy in heat stressed pigs is limited, the available few studies suggest that feeding of probiotics might also be a suitable approach to enhance productivity, health and welfare in pigs kept under heat stress conditions.




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Journal of animal science and biotechnology 13 (2022), 1 - 16, 126




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