Dietary supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum I5007 and the antibiotic aureomycin differentially affects the small intestinal proteomes of weanling piglets.
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Antibiotics have long been used in animal production and medication to alleviate weaning stress. However, due to the concerns over food safety and human health, its use in animal production has been prohibited in many countries. Therefore, there is growing interest in developing alternative additives, such as a probiotic Lactobacillus. In this study, a proteomic approach coupled with biochemical analysis was applied to investigate alterations of proteomes in the small intestinal mucosa of weanling piglets after a 13-d period of feeding with supplemental L. fermentum I5007 or aureomycin (an antibiotic). We indentified 27 differentially expressed protein spots that participated in 7 key biological processes, including: 1) energy metabolism; 2) lipid metabolism; 3) protein synthesis; 4) cell structure and mobility; 5) cellular proliferation and apoptosis; 6) immune response; and 7) stress response and detoxification. Both L. fermentum I5007 and aureomycin decreased the expression of proteins related to apoptosis, stress response, and increased the expression of proteins related to detoxification in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of weanling piglets. L. fermentum I5007 exhibited additional effects in alleviating weaning stress syndrome by enhancing the levels of proteins involved in energy metabolism, lipid metabolism, cell structure and mobility, protein synthesis, and immune response, thereby facilitating cellular proliferation and depressing apoptosis. In contrast, aureomycin reduced the levels of proteins related to energy metabolism, protein synthesis, cell structure, motility, and immunity. These novel findings have important implications for understanding the mechanisms whereby L. fermentum I5007 can improve the GI health of postweaning piglets.