Physical activity level is impaired and diet dependent in preterm newborn pigs
Petersen, Stine Ostenfeldt
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Pediatric research. - Basel
, p. 137-144
University of Antwerp
Background: Preterm infants show delayed development of motor function after birth. This may relate to functional immaturity of many organs, including the gut and brain. Using pigs as model for preterm infants, we hypothesized that early initiation of enteral feeding stimulates both gut growth and neonatal physical activity. Methods: In experiment 1, preterm and term pigs were fed parenteral nutrition (PN) or PN plus bovine colostrum (BC, 1664 ml/kg/d enterally) for 5 d. In experiment 2, preterm pigs were fed PN+BC or PN+formula for 5 d. In experiment 3, preterm pigs were fed BC, formula, or human milk (HM) for 10 d. Incubator home cage activity (HCA) was quantified by continuous camera recordings. Results: Preterm birth was associated with reduced intestinal weight and HCA (experiment 1), and BC or formula supplementation increased intestinal weights and HCA (experiments 1+2). Enteral BC and HM feeding increased HCA, intestinal weights, and necrotizing enteritis resistance, relative to formula (experiment 3). Conclusion: Preterm pigs show decreased physical activity, and the first enteral feeds diet dependently stimulate both gut growth and physical activity. The effects may arise from maturation of digestive, metabolic, and neurological functions, including gut serotonin production, by the first enteral feeds and milk bioactive factors.