Dietary l-Tryptophan Supplementation Enhances the Intestinal Mucosal Barrier Function in Weaned Piglets: Implication of Tryptophan-Metabolizing Microbiota Academic Article uri icon


  • l-Tryptophan (Trp) is known to play an important role in the health of the large intestine. However, a role of dietary Trp in the small-intestinal mucosal barrier and microbiota remains poorly understood. The present study was conducted with weaned piglets to address this issue. Postweaning piglets were fed for 4 weeks a corn- and soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 0 (Control), 0.1, 0.2, or 0.4% Trp. The small-intestinal microbiota and serum amino acids were analyzed by bacterial 16S rRNA gene-based high-throughput sequencing methods and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. The mRNA levels for genes involved in host defense and the abundances of tight-junction proteins in jejunum and duodenum were measured by real time-PCR and Western blot techniques, respectively. The concentrations of Trp in the serum of Trp-supplemented piglets increased in a dose-dependent manner. Compared with the control group, dietary supplementation with 0.2⁻0.4% Trp reduced the abundances of Clostridium sensu stricto and Streptococcus in the jejunum, increased the abundances of Lactobacillus and Clostridium XI (two species of bacteria that can metabolize Trp) in the jejunum, and augmented the concentrations of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) as well as mRNA levels for porcine β-defensins 2 and 3 in jejunal tissues. Moreover, dietary Trp supplementation activated the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling and increased the abundances of tight-junction proteins (zonula occludens (ZO)-1, ZO-3, and claudin-1) in jejunum and duodenum. We suggested that Trp-metabolizing bacteria in the small intestine of weaned pigs primarily mediated the beneficial effects of dietary Trp on its mucosal integrity, health, and function.

altmetric score

  • 7.33

author list (cited authors)

  • Liang, H., Dai, Z., Kou, J., Sun, K., Chen, J., Yang, Y., Wu, G., & Wu, Z.

citation count

  • 18
  • 24

publication date

  • December 2018