Oertzenweg 19 b
+49 30 838 62600
Many studies report positive effects of probiotic supplementation on the performance and health of piglets. The intention of this study was to describe the effects of Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415 on the transport and barrier functions of pig small intestine to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of this probiotic. Ussing chamber studies were conducted with isolated jejunal epithelia of piglets at the age of 14, 28, 35 and 56 days. Jejunal tissues of the control group were compared with epithelia of piglets that had received a diet supplemented with the probiotic Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415. Transport properties (absorption and secretion) of the epithelia were examined by mucosal addition of glucose or L-glutamine or by serosal addition of PGE2. Electrophysiology of the epithelia was continuously recorded and the change in short circuit current (Isc) was determined. Paracellular permeability was measured by measuring the flux rates of mannitol. The increase of Isc caused by mucosal addition of glucose was, at all glucose concentrations, higher in the probiotic group compared with the control group. However, the difference (up to 100% of the control) was not significant. The increase of Isc after the mucosal addition of L-glutamine (12mmol/l) was higher in the tissues of the probiotic group but did not reach significance. Serosal PGE2 induced a significantly higher increase of Isc in tissues of the probiotic group at the age of 28 days. No consistent differences were observed in mannitol transport rates between the feeding groups. Significant age-dependent alterations of absorptive and secretory properties of the jejunal epithelium were observed; these were independent of the treatment. A probiotic supplementation seems to influence transport properties of small intestine epithelium. The increased absorption of glucose could be interpreted as a positive effect for the animal.