Effect of chronic and acute enterotoxigenic E. coli challenge on growth performance, intestinal inflammation, microbiome, and metabolome of weaned piglets. Academic Article uri icon


  • Post-weaning enteropathies in swine caused by pathogenic E. coli, such as post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) or edema disease (ED), remain a significant problem for the swine industry. Reduction in the use of antibiotics over concerns of antibiotic resistance and public health concerns, necessitate the evaluation of effective antibiotic alternatives to prevent significant loss of livestock and/or reductions in swine growth performance. For this purpose, an appropriate piglet model of pathogenic E. coli enteropathy is required. In this study, we attempted to induce clinical signs of post-weaning disease in a piglet model using a one-time acute or lower daily chronic dose of a pathogenic E. coli strain containing genes for both heat stable and labile toxins, as well as Shiga toxin. The induced disease state was monitored by determining fecal shedding and colonization of the challenge strain, animal growth performance, cytokine levels, fecal calprotectin, histology, fecal metabolomics, and fecal microbiome shifts. The most informative analyses were colonization and shedding of the pathogen, serum cytokines, metabolomics, and targeted metagenomics to determine dysbiosis. Histopathological changes of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and tight junction leakage as measured by fecal calprotectin concentrations were not observed. Chronic dosing was similar to the acute regimen suggesting that a high dose of pathogen, as used in many studies, may not be necessary. The piglet disease model presented here can be used to evaluate alternative PWD treatment options.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Boeckman, J. X., Sprayberry, S., Korn, A. M., Suchodolski, J. S., Paulk, C., Genovese, K., ... Gill, J. J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Boeckman, Justin X||Sprayberry, Sarah||Korn, Abby M||Suchodolski, Jan S||Paulk, Chad||Genovese, Kenneth||Rech, Raquel R||Giaretta, Paula R||Blick, Anna K||Callaway, Todd||Gill, Jason J

publication date

  • January 2022