Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Gestating Sows and Neonatal Offspring Alters Lifetime Intestinal Microbiota and Growth in Offspring

Ursula M. Mccormack, Tânia Curião, Toby Wilkinson, Barbara U. Metzler-Zebeli, Henry Reyer, Tomas Ryan, Julia A. Calderon-Diaz, Fiona Crispie, Paul D. Cotter, Christopher J. Creevey, Gillian E. Gardiner, Peadar G. Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


Previous studies suggest a link between intestinal microbiota and porcine feed efficiency (FE). Therefore, we investigated whether fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in sows and/or neonatal offspring, using inocula derived from highly feed-efficient pigs, could improve offspring FE. Pregnant sows were assigned to control or FMT treatments and the subsequent offspring to control treatment, FMT once (at birth), or FMT four times (between birth and weaning). FMT altered sow fecal and colostrum microbiota compositions and resulted in lighter offspring body weight at 70 and 155 days of age when administered to sows and/or offspring. This was accompanied by FMT-associated changes within the offspring’s intestinal microbiota, mostly in the ileum. These included transiently higher fecal bacterial diversity and load and numerous compositional differences at the phylum and genus levels (e.g., Spirochaetes and Bacteroidetes at high relative abundances and mostly members of Clostridia, respectively), as well as differences in the abundances of predicted bacterial pathways. In addition, intestinal morphology was negatively impacted, duodenal gene expression altered, and serum protein and cholesterol concentrations reduced due to FMT in sows and/or offspring. Taken together, the results suggest poorer absorptive capacity and intestinal health, most likely explaining the reduced body weight. An additive effect of FMT in sows and offspring also occurred for some parameters. Although these findings have negative implications for the practical use of the FMT regime used here for improving FE in pigs, they nonetheless demonstrate the enormous impact of early-life intestinal microbiota on the host phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00134-17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2018


  • fecal microbiota transplantation
  • feed efficiency
  • intestinal microbiota
  • pigs


Dive into the research topics of 'Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Gestating Sows and Neonatal Offspring Alters Lifetime Intestinal Microbiota and Growth in Offspring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this