Maternal L-glutamine supplementation during late gestation alleviates intrauterine growth restriction-induced intestinal dysfunction in piglets. Academic Article uri icon


  • Maternal dietary supplementation with L-glutamine (Gln) has been considered as an option to improve fetal growth and to prevent the occurrence of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This study investigated whether maternal Gln supplementation could improve fetal growth as well as the intestinal development during late pregnancy. Sixty pregnant LandraceLarge White multiparous sows were assigned to two groups, either the group fed the control diet or the group with the diet supplemented with 1% Gln from d 85 of gestation until farrowing. One normal body weight piglet and one IUGR piglet were obtained from six litters in each group. Reproductive performance, plasma concentrations of free amino acids and related metabolites as well as piglet growth and tissue indexes were determined. Maternal Gln supplementation during late gestation increased the average birth weight, while decreasing the within-litter variation of newborn piglets. The concentrations of Gln in plasma were lower in IUGR piglets than in normal piglets. Glutamine supplementation enhanced Gln concentrations in maternal and piglet plasma and the piglet jejunum, compared with the Control group. Supplementing Gln suppressed intestinal miR-29a levels, and increased the abundance of extracellular matrix (ECM) and tight junction (TJ) proteins, resulting in increased intestinal weight and improved morphologies of the piglets. Collectively, Gln supplementation to the sow's diet increased fetal growth, decreased the within-litter variation of newborn piglets, and alleviated the IUGR-induced intestinal impairment. These findings suggest the possibility of maternal glutamine supplementation in the prevention and treatment of IUGR in animal production and human medicine.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhu, Y., Li, T., Huang, S., Wang, W., Dai, Z., Feng, C., Wu, G., & Wang, J.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Zhu, Yuhua||Li, Tiantian||Huang, Shimeng||Wang, Wei||Dai, Zhaolai||Feng, Cuiping||Wu, Guoyao||Wang, Junjun

publication date

  • September 2018