Dietary l-arginine supplementation enhances placental growth and reproductive performance in sows Academic Article uri icon


  • Suboptimal embryonic/fetal survival and growth remains a significant problem in mammals. Using a swine model, we tested the hypothesis that dietary L-arginine supplementation during gestation may improve pregnancy outcomes through enhancing placental growth and modulating hormonal secretions. Gestating pigs (Yorkshire√óLandrace, n=108) were assigned randomly into two groups based on parity and body weight, representing dietary supplementation with 1.0% L-arginine-HCl or 1.7% L-alanine (isonitrogenous control) between days 22 and 114 of gestation. Blood samples were obtained from the ear vein on days 22, 40, 70 and 90 of gestation. On days 40, 70 and 90 of gestation, concentrations of estradiol in plasma were higher (P<0.05) in arginine-supplemented than in control sows. Moreover, arginine supplementation increased (P<0.05) the concentrations of arginine, proline and ornithine in plasma, but concentrations of urea or progesterone in plasma did not differ between the two groups of sows. Compared with the control, arginine supplementation increased (P<0.05) the total number of piglets by 1.31 per litter, the number of live-born piglets by 1.10 per litter, the litter birth weight for all piglets by 1.36 kg, and the litter birth weight for live-born piglets by 1.70 kg. Furthermore, arginine supplementation enhanced (P<0.05) placental weight by 16.2%. The weaning-to-estrus interval of sows was not affected by arginine supplementation during gestation. These results indicate that dietary arginine supplementation beneficially enhances placental growth and the reproductive performance of sows.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gao, K., Jiang, Z., Lin, Y., Zheng, C., Zhou, G., Chen, F., Yang, L., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 92
  • 95

publication date

  • June 2011