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New markers of immunological stress and welfare in animals: porcine acute phase proteins in the production of healthy pigs *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-02219
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 1,469,638 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,255,988 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Animal Systems

Abstract:
Acute phase proteins (APP) are blood proteins which alter significantly during the active stage of infection. Our initial studies during pig production show that APPs identify poor hygiene on farms and predict higher incidence of disease.

This project will deliver:
1) maximisation of the diagnostic value of porcine APP assays;
2) the differentiation of disease by examination of the APP immunokinetics; and
3) quantification of the advantage to sustainable agriculture in Europe of measuring the APP in pig blood during production.

These will be achieved by optimising the balance of measured APP, characterising the APP response to experimental models of economically important infectious disease of pigs, and correlating plasma APP to growth, welfare and hygiene in different 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. 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.

The project will:
1
) identify and develop methods to measure the optimal mix of APPs for inclusion in an acute phase index of disease status;
2) establish the immunokinetic profile of APP in pigs during specific disease using experimental models of infection; and
3i) quantify 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.


Coordinator
Kirsten SAMS
The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
Glasgow
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1413302514
Fax: +44 1413302747
E-mail: k.sams@enterprise.gla.ac.uk


Partners
  Jens Peter NIELSEN
Swine Medicine - Clinical Stidies
Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 35282844
Fax: +45 35282838
  Gustavo MARTIN DE BUSTAMANTE
PROINSERGA I+D
Segovia
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 921425111
Fax: +34 921437605
E-mail: direccion@proinserga.es
  Blanca CONDE
Bioquimica y biologia molecular y celular, Facultad de ciencias
Zaragoza
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 976565003
Fax: +34 976350814
E-mail: peuropa@posta.unizar.es
  Ingo WEILER
Institute of Aanatomy, Physiology and Hygiene of Domestic Animals
Bonn
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 228737274
Fax: +49 228739353
  Vibeke SOERENSEN
Department of biochemistry & immunology
Copenhagen
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 35300289
Fax: +45 35300340
E-mail: vis@svs.dk
  Gom VAN STRIEN
Utrecht University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Utrecht
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 302535934
Fax: +31 302537727
E-mail: g.a.vanstrien@vet.uu.nl