Feeding 25-hydroxycholecalciferol improves gilt reproductive performance and fetal vitamin D status1
J. D. Coffey*, E. A. Hines*, J. D. Starkey*,2, C. W. Starkey* and T. K. Chung†
*Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79409
†DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific, 2 Havelock Road, #04-01, Singapore 059763
?2Corresponding author: jessica.starkey at ttu.edu
Little information is available regarding the effects of vitamin D and its metabolites on reproduction in swine. To investigate the effects of feeding the circulating metabolite of vitamin D, 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25OHD3, ROVIMIX Hy•D, DSM Nutritional Products, Basel, Switzerland) on maternal and fetal circulating 25OHD3 concentration and gilt reproductive performance, a total of 40 PIC Camborough-22 gilts (BW on d -6 = 138 kg) in 4 replicates were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 corn-soybean meal-based diets.
The control diet (CTL) was formulated to contain 2,500 IU D3/kg diet, and the experimental diet (25OHD3) was formulated to contain 500 IU D3/kg diet + 50 ?g 25OHD3/kg diet.
Gilts were fed 2.7 kg of their assigned diet once daily beginning 43 d before breeding. Gilt BW were measured on gestational d -6 and d 90. Gilts were artificially inseminated with PIC 337-G semen 12 h and 24 h after showing signs of estrus. Blood samples were collected from the jugular vein on gestational d -43, -13, 46, and 89 for analysis of circulating 25OHD3 plasma concentration and overall vitamin D status of the gilts. At gestational d 90 ± 1, gilts were harvested and reproductive tracts were removed. Fetal weight, sex, crown-to-rump length (CRL), as well as the number of mummified fetuses were recorded.
As expected, circulating plasma concentrations of 25OHD3 were not different among treatment groups at d -43 (CTL = 53.8 ng/mL, 25OHD3 = 57.4 ng/mL; P = 0.66). However, gilts fed 25OHD3 had greater (P < 0.001) circulating plasma concentrations of 25OHD3 on d -13 (89.7 vs. 56.7 ng/mL), d 46 (95.8 vs. 55.7 ng/mL), and d 89 (92.8 vs. 58.2 ng/mL) of gestation compared with CTL-fed gilts.
Circulating 25OHD3 was also greater in fetuses from 25OHD3-fed gilts on d 90 (P < 0.001).
A 23% increase in pregnancy rate was observed in 25OHD3-fed gilts compared with CTL (78% vs. 55%, respectively; P = 0.21). Maternal BW gain (without conceptus), number of mummified fetuses, mean fetal weight, and mean fetal CRL were similar among treatments (P > 0.05).
However, litter size was larger (CTL = 10.2; 25OHD3 = 12.7; P = 0.04) in 25OHD3-fed gilts compared with CTL-fed gilts. Notably, mean fetal weight was not decreased in 25OHD3-fed gilts as frequently occurs when litter size is increased. Overall, feeding 25OHD3 to first-service gilts before and during gestation improved both maternal and fetal vitamin D status and improved maternal reproductive performance.
?1 Supported in part by funding from DSM Nutritional Products.
Received December 13, 2011, Accepted May 15, 2012.
A commercial source of 25OHD3 is available and has been approved for use in poultry (Fritts and Waldroup, 2003).
Although this commercial source of 25OHD3 has not been approved for use in swine in the United States,
it is currently used in the swine industries of many other countries.
The dietary vitamin D3 requirement listed in the most recent NRC for gestating and lactating sows is 200 IU per kg of feed (NRC, 1998).
Yet, commercial gestation diets typically contain at least 10 times that amount.
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Note: A gilt is generally defined as a young female pig, specifically one that has not yet farrowed, or given birth.