Effects of transport duration and environmental conditions in winter or summer on the concentrations of insulin-like growth factors and insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins in the plasma of market-weight pigs
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In previous work using market-weight pigs, we had demonstrated that insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) are regulated during shipment characterized by changing conditions of stress due to loading or unloading, transportation, lairage, and slaughter. In addition, we found in a previous study that IGFBP-2 concentrations were lower in pigs transported for longer periods of time. Therefore, we performed a more detailed study on the effects of transport duration and season on the plasma concentrations of IGFs and IGFBPs in adult pigs. For the study, exsanguination blood was collected from 240 market-weight barrows that were transported for 6, 12, or 18 h in January or July. IGF-I and -II were detected using commercial ELISAs whereas IGFBPs were quantified by quantitative Western ligand blotting. In addition, established markers of stress and metabolism were studied in the animals. The results show that plasma concentrations of IGFBP-3 were significantly reduced after 18 h of transport compared to shorter transport durations (6 and 12 h; p < 0.05). The concentrations of IGF-I in plasma were higher (p < 0.001) in pigs transported 12 h compared to shorter or longer durations. Season influenced plasma concentrations of IGFBP-3 and IGF-II (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). Neither transport duration nor differential environmental conditions of winter or summer had an effect on glucocorticoids, albumin, triglycerides, or glucose concentrations (p > 0.05). However, low-density lipoprotein concentrations decreased after 18 h compared to 6 h of transport (p < 0.05), whereas high-density lipoprotein concentrations were higher (p < 0.05) in pigs transported for 12 or 18 h compared to those transported for only 6 h. Our findings indicate differential regulation of IGF-compounds in response to longer transport duration or seasonal changes and support current evidence of IGFs and IGFBPs as innovative animal-based indicators of psycho-social or metabolic stress in pigs.
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