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APP IN PIG PRODUCTION
New markers of immunological stress and welfare in animals: Porcine ccute phase proteins in the Production of Healthy Pigs

Acute phase proteins (APP) are blood proteins, which significantly alter during the active stage of infection. Initial studies have shown that, during pig production, APPs identify poor hygiene on farms and predict higher incidence of disease. The purpose of the project is to optimise pig production so that losses in growth rate associated with immunological stress from clinical and sub-clinical infection and poor hygiene can then be eliminated by focused therapeutic intervention. These will be achieved by optimising the balance of measured APP, characterizing the APP response to experimental models of economically important infectious disease of pigs and correlating plasma APP to growth, welfare and hygiene in differing production systems.

Objectives
The project objective is to optimise the output of high quality pig production, while improving animal welfare by developing and assessing the use of acute phase proteins (APP) in blood plasma as marker indicators for immunological stress in pig production. The objective will be achieved by:
1) identifying and developing methods to measure the optimal mix of APPs for inclusion in an acute phase index of disease status
2) establishing the immunokinetic profile of APP in pigs during specific disease using experimental models of infection
3) quantifying the benefit to sustainable pig production in Europe by monitoring plasma APP levels as piglets transfer to fattening farms at the finishing period prior to slaughter, and for between farm comparison.

Results
Assays have been validated for quantification of positive APP in pigs allowing the use of these methods in laboratories wishing to use these proteins as markers of infection and immunological stress.
Recombinant porcine retinol binding protein has been expressed from prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems and monoclonal antibodies have been produced and assessed for immunoassay.
A critical point analysis of piglet rearing farms has revealed differences in APP concentration and in the combination as an acute phase index between differing pedigrees of piglets, and that animals with a greater medical treatment cost had a higher haptoglobin concentration at the time of coming into the rearing farm than animals with a lower cost of medical treatment. The APP concentrations in the index were also found to be inversely associated with the hygiene status of rearing farms and at slaughter. Further studies have been performed that have identified acute phase index changes in pigs stressed by altered feeding patterns, by mixing and altering pen sizes and by long distance transport.

Classified in ANIMALS, HUMAN HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Scientist responsible for the project

Professor DAVID ECKERSALL
Bearsden Road
G61 1QH Glasgow
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 141 330 2514
Fax: +44 141 330 2747
E-mail: p.d.eckersall@vet.gla.ac.uk

References

Project ID QLRT-2000-02219
Organisation University of Glasgow Veterinary School
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 September 2001
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 1 469 638 €
Total EC contribution   1 255 988 €
Status Completed

The partners

  • THE ROYAL VETERINARY AND AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, Denmark - DK
  • UNIVERSITY OF BONN, Germany - DE
  • DANISH VETERINARY LABORATORY, Denmark - DK
    vis@svs.dk
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