Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 March 2007
1. The development of gastric secretory capacity of hydrochloric acid and pepsin (EC 3. 4. 23. 1) was studied in thirty-eight Large White x Landrace pigs from the litters of six sows (three pairs of two), 9–38 d of age. The pigs of each pair of sows were born within 24 h of each other. The pigs of a litter were paired according to sex and size and cross-fostered, i.e. one pig from each pair was allocated to each sow.
2. One litter from each pair was reared entirely by the sow (milk-fed, MF) whereas the other litter was reared by the sow for 21 d, but was allowed access to solid food (210 g crude protein (nitrogen x 6.25)/kg) at 12 d and was entirely dependent on solid food after 21 d (creep-fed, CF).
3. Following a 14–18 h fast, pigs were anaesthetized (Halothane–sodium pentobarbitone) and their stomachs perfused a a constant rate with Ringer solution. Gastric secretion was stimulated by intravenous infusion of betazole hydrochloride (Histalog) at 3 mg/kg per h for 2 h. Hydrochloric acid and pepsin were measured in the perfusate which was collected at 15-min intervals.
4. There were significant positive correlations between stomach weight and body-weight for both MF and CF pigs. The slope of the regression line for CF pigs was significantly greater than that for MF pigs (P < 0.01).
5. There were significant positive correlations between maximal acid output and stomach weight for both MF and CF pigs.
6. There were significant positive correlations between maximal pepsin output and stomach weight for both MF and CF pigs. The slope of the regression line for CF pigs was significantly different from that for MF pigs (P < 0.01). There were also significant positive correlations between maximal pepsin output per unit stomach weight and stomach weight for both MF and CF pigs.
7. The pattern of development of pepsin secretory capacity in both CF and MF pigs was different from that for acid secretion. Maximal outputs of acid per unit stomach weight for MF and CF pigs remained relatively constant. Maximal outputs of pepsin per unit stomach weight and per unit body-weight increased with age for both MF and CF pigs.
8. The results indicate that pigs given access to solid food before weaning and weaned on to solid food have heavier stomachs and greater acid and pepsin secretory capacity than pigs fed entirely on sows' milk.