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The protective milk shot
Date:5/23/2014

in the first few hours of life through their mother's milk, where they enter the blood stream and the intestines of the newborns who cannot yet produce their own antibodies. These maternal antibodies protect the piglets from infections in the first few weeks of life. The higher the concentration of antibodies in the sow's milk, the better protected her offspring are.

More antibodies mean less diarrhoea

Piglets with milder symptoms showed higher concentrations of IgA in their blood. These immunoglobulins are not just in the bloodstream, they are primarily found on the surface of the mucous membranes including the intestines where they serve as a defence against pathogens. Researchers found equally high levels of IgA in the blood of the infected mothers. "To date it has been assumed that immunoglobulins do not play a role in the course of swine coccidiosis. Our results provide the first indications that immunoglobulins could actually be quite important. Additional studies are required to identify the exact role played by the antibodies", Schwarz explains.

Protective milk as the basis for a vaccine

Researchers found particularly high concentrations of IgA in the very first milk known as colostrum, a highly nutritious milk all mammals ingest during the first days of life. This form of "milk vaccination" might serve as a basis for developing an immunisation strategy to prevent swine coccidiosis.

"There are some effective medications for swine coccidiosis, but we would like to use the piglet's immune response to stop it in its tracks before the infection even gets started," lead author Lukas Schwarz concludes.

The importance of Cystoisospora suis

Neonatal porcine coccidiosis caused by Cystosisospora suis is a severe parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of neonatal piglets caused by the unicellular organism Cystoisospora suis. Coccidiosis is associated with ex
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Contact: Lukas Schwarz
lukas.schwarz@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-6848
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

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