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Mccrea, Kirste, 2018. The impact of prebiotic supplementation in piglets and its effect on learning and memory. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



The microbiota-gut-brain axis is known to have the ability to influence host physiology and behaviour. Studies have demonstrated an impact from gut
microbiota on a variety of behaviours, such as learning and memory, largely
through the use of rodent models. These impacts can be observed through changing
the gut microbiota composition in ways such as administration of prebiotics, which
are defined as “selectively fermented ingredients that confer benefits upon host
health”. Beta-glucan is a known prebiotic that has been shown to promote beneficial
microorganisms in the gut associated with effects on cognitive function. Pigs were
used in this study to explore the impacts of early prebiotic supplementation on gut
microbiota colonization and its subsequent effect on learning and memory. The
effects on learning and memory were studied through the use of a standardized Tmaze
test. Supplemented pigs performed slightly better in the acquisition phase of
the test, though control pigs were faster and performed better in the reversal phase.
A possible sex and phase interaction was observed, as female pigs were faster and
had more correct trials in the acquisition phase than males, though the opposite
trend was seen in the reversal phase. Overall, trends observed were weak and likely
would not have reached significance, apart from the reversal phase of mean trials
correct per session, where pigs supplemented with beta-glucan performed worse
than control pigs. This may indicate that supplemented pigs were less flexible and
may have a greater difficulty in adapting to a changing environment. These results
could have implications for on-farm practices, though how exactly requires further
investigation. In conclusion, further research into the interaction of prebiotics and
he microbiota-gut-brain axis is needed, as well as how this interaction impacts
learning and memory in pigs.

Main title:The impact of prebiotic supplementation in piglets and its effect on learning and memory
Authors:Mccrea, Kirste
Supervisor:Verbeek, Else
Examiner:Keeling, Linda
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:755
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:EKNMP Economics and Business Administration, Programme with specialisation in Natural Resources 240 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:Pigs,, T-maze,, Microbiota-gut-brain-axis,, Beta-glucan,, Cognition
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Animal feeding
Deposited On:22 Oct 2018 10:29
Metadata Last Modified:25 Feb 2019 13:37

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