Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) F4 is a major cause of diarrhea in both neonatal and young pigs. Indeed, only pigs having F4 receptors are susceptible. Among the susceptible pigs, it is yet unknown if spontaneous E. coli postweaning diarrhea (PWD) occurrence and intestinal mucosal responses to ETEC differ between genotypes. This study investigated a diarrhea-like condition and intestinal mucosal responses in F4 homo- and heterozygous susceptible weaner pigs. Sixteen weaned pigs (28 d of age) were used in a 2 × 2 factorial study with genotype (homo- or heterozygous F4R+) and inoculation with E. coli F4 or not as the 2 factors. Within genotype, 4 pigs were inoculated with E. coli F4 and the other 4 pigs received saline buffer on days 7 and 8 after weaning. Fecal score and DM and bacterial counts were conducted from days 7 to 12 after weaning. Blood was obtained on days 3 and 10 after weaning and at the time of killing. Four pigs were killed per day on days 14, 15, 16, and 17. Small intestine (SI) was divided into 3 parts of equal length for measurement of intestinal weight and the amount of mucosa. Lymphocyte subsets in jejunal Peyer’s patches (jejPP) were analyzed using flow cytometry. Escherichia coli reduced (P = 0.05) total percentage of intestinal mucosa (on a dry basis) and had an impact on metabolomics profile of the plasma. No effect of genotype was seen on fecal score and DM, fecal shedding of hemolytic E. coli, mucosal responses, metabolomics profile, antibody responses, and lymphocyte subsets counts. This study suggests that both F4 homo- and heterozygous susceptible pigs have similar functional receptors for E. coli F4, which facilitate the adhesion of F4 to the intestinal tissue.
Journal of Animal Science, 2012, Vol 90, Issue Suppl. 4, p. 281-283