Developmental changes of TGF-β1 and Smads signaling pathway in intestinal adaption of weaned pigs.PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e104589.Plos
Weaning stress caused marked changes in intestinal structure and function. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and canonical Smads signaling pathway are suspected to play an important regulatory role in post-weaning adaptation of the small intestine. In the present study, the intestinal morphology and permeability, developmental expressions of tight junction proteins and TGF-β1 in the intestine of piglets during the 2 weeks after weaning were assessed. The expressions of TGF-β receptor I/II (TβRI, TβRII), smad2/3, smad4 and smad7 were determined to investigate whether canonical smads signaling pathways were involved in early weaning adaption process. The results showed that a shorter villus and deeper crypt were observed on d 3 and d 7 postweaning and intestinal morphology recovered to preweaning values on d 14 postweaning. Early weaning increased (P<0.05) plasma level of diamine oxidase (DAO) and decreased DAO activities (P<0.05) in intestinal mucosa on d 3 and d 7 post-weaning. Compared with the pre-weaning stage (d 0), tight junction proteins level of occludin and claudin-1 were reduced (P<0.05) on d 3, 7 and 14 post-weaning, and ZO-1 protein was reduced (P<0.05) on d 3 and d 7 post-weaning. An increase (P<0.05) of TGF-β1 in intestinal mucosa was observed on d 3 and d 7 and then level down on d 14 post-weaning. Although there was an increase (P<0.05) of TβR II protein expression in the intestinal mucosa on d3 and d 7, no significant increase of mRNA of TβRI, TβRII, smad2/3, smad4 and smad7 was observed during postweaning. The results indicated that TGF-β1 was associated with the restoration of intestinal morphology and barrier function following weaning stress. The increased intestinal endogenous TGF-β1 didn't activate the canonical Smads signaling pathway.