Influence of creep feeding and weaning on brush border enzyme activities in the piglet small intestine

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
Journal / PublicationResearch in Veterinary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes


The activities of the enterocyte brush border enzymes lactase (beta-D galactoside galactohydrolase, EC and sucrase (sucrose alpha-D glucohydrolase, EC were measured at set percentage lengths along the small intestines of 112 piglets killed between 21 and 32 days of age. The influences on these activities of consumption of creep feed and of weaning were recorded. Weaning at three weeks old resulted in large, rapid reductions in lactase activity at most sites along the small intestine; sucrase activity declined temporarily and then recovered. Minimum values were recorded about four to five days after weaning. Similar changes were observed whether or not creep feed was consumed before weaning. Continued consumption of creep feed by unweaned pigs over the 21 to 32 day period also produced small but significant reductions in lactase activities. The large loss of digestive enzyme activities at brush borders in weaned animals coincided with a reduced ability to absorb xylose and to checks in growth rate in otherwise healthy piglets.