Skip to main content Accessibility help

Approaches for quantifying gastrointestinal nutrient absorption and metabolism in a native and a modern pig breed



When working with multi-catheterized animals, success and failure are separated by surgical procedures and minor details in catheter design and care. The current paper is a detailed description of novel approaches to multi-catheterization of pigs for investigations into nutrient absorption and metabolism of portal-drained viscera (PDV) in a native obese (Iberian) and a modern (Landrace) breed. Three Iberian and three Landrace gilts (25 kg average body weight; BW) were fitted with catheters in the carotid artery (CA), the portal vein (PV) and the ileal vein (IV). Tygon rings were attached to the catheter to mark the extent of introduction into the vessel and facilitate its fixing by means of a non-absorbable suture. The PV was catheterized through the visceral side of the left-lateral lobe of the liver and IV through a branch of the vein. The CA was secured directly in place with a purse-string suture where the artery was not occluded. Patency of the catheters was checked weekly and catheters filled with sterile heparinized saline and closed by two knots. Portal blood flow was determined to test the procedures. A 15 ml pulse dose of para-aminohippuric acid (PAH; 2% w/v) was infused into IV 45 min prior to blood sampling, followed by continuous infusion of 0·8 ml/min. Blood samples (4·5 ml) were taken simultaneously from CA and PV, using heparinized tubes, 5 min before feeding 0·25 of the total daily ration (barley–soybean meal diet; 160 g crude protein (CP)/kg; 14–14·5 MJ metabolizable energy (ME)/kg dry matter (DM); 2·4×ME for maintenance), and every 30 min for 4 h and then hourly until 6 h after feeding. Blood was centrifuged and plasma harvested and stored at −20 °C until PAH analysis. Whole-blood flow was based on the Fick principle. Post-prandial PDV blood flow was lower for the Iberian pigs than Landrace (866 and 1464 ml/min, respectively). The concurrence of access to the PV through the liver with a minimal wound, the non-occluded blood flow in CA, and the catheter design and care were all critical for the fast recovery of pigs and catheter patency. The procedures followed are recommended for studies of absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract and the impact of PDV on the metabolism of conscious, unrestrained, growing pigs.


Corresponding author

*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:


Hide All
Barea, R., Nieto, R. & Aguilera, J. F. (2007). Effects of the dietary protein content and the feeding level on protein and energy metabolism in Iberian pigs growing from 50 to 100 kg body weight. Animal 1, 357365.
Brown, H. S., Halliwell, M., Qamar, M., Read, A. E., Evans, J. M. & Wells, P. N. T. (1989). Measurement of normal portal venous blood flow by Doppler ultrasound. Gut 30, 503509.
Ellis, P. R., Roberts, F. G., Low, A. G. & Morgan, L. M. (1995). The effect of high-molecular-weight guar gum on net apparent glucose absorption and net apparent insulin and gastric inhibitory polypeptide production in the growing pig: relationship to rheological changes in jejunal digesta. British Journal of Nutrition 74, 539556.
Fernández-Fígares, I., Rodríguez-Lopez, J. M., González-Valero, L. & Lachica, M. (2010). Energy expenditure of portal drained viscera relative to the total in Iberian vs. Landrace growing gilts. In Third EAAP International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition (Ed. Crovetto, G. M.), pp. 227228. European Association for Animal Production Publication No. 127. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
González-Valero, L., Rodríguez-López, J. M., Lachica, M. & Fernández-Fígares, I. (2010). Glucose uptake of portal drained viscera (PDV) in Iberian gilts fed acorn. In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Mediterranean Pig: Book of Abstracts (Ed. de Pedro, E.), p. 50. Córdoba, Spain: University of Córdoba.
González-Valero, L., Rodríguez-López, J. M., Lachica, M. & Fernández-Fígares, I. (2012). Differences in portal appearance of lysine, threonine and methionine in Iberian and Landrace pigs fed diets differing in protein content. In Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Digestive Physiology of Pigs: Program and Book of Abstracts. May 29–June 1 2012, Boulder, CO, USA (Co-chairs M. Lindemann & J. Patience) p. 59. Champaign, IL, USA: American Society of Animal Science.
Hecker, J. F. (1974). Experimental Surgery on Small Ruminants. London, UK: Butterworths and Co. Ltd.
Hooda, S., Matte, J. J., Wilkinson, C. W. & Zijlstra, R. T. (2009). Technical note: an improved surgical model for the long-term studies of kinetics and quantification of nutrient absorption in swine. Journal of Animal Science 87, 20132019.
Jackson, I. M. D., Cook, D. B. & Gill, G. (1972). Simultaneous intravenous infusion and arterial blood sampling in piglets. Laboratory Animal Science 22, 552555.
Jørgensen, H., Serena, A., Theil, P. K. & Engberg, R. M. (2010). Surgical techniques for quantitative nutrient digestion and absorption studies in the pig. Livestock Science 133, 5760.
Katz, M. L. & Bergman, E. N. (1969). Simultaneous measurements of hepatic and portal venous blood flow in the sheep and dog. American Journal of Physiology 216, 946952.
Kelly, K., Dumenko, L., Mcgregor, S. E. & Mchutchion, M. E. (1992). A change in flushing protocols of central venous catheters. Oncology Nursing Forum 19, 599605.
Lachica, M., Rodríguez-Lopez, J. M., González-Valero, L. & Fernández-Fígares, I. (2010). Energy expenditure of portal-drained viscera in Iberian gilts fed acorn. In Third EAAP International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition (Ed. Crovetto, G. M.), pp. 229230. European Association for Animal Production Publication No. 127. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Lobley, G. E., Connell, A., Lomax, M. A., Brown, D. S., Milne, E., Calder, A. G. & Farningham, D. A. H. (1995). Hepatic detoxification of ammonia in the ovine liver: possible consequences for amino acid catabolism. British Journal of Nutrition 73, 667685.
Nieto, R., Miranda, A., García, M. A. & Aguilera, J. F. (2002). The effect of dietary protein content and feeding level on the rate of protein deposition and energy utilization in growing Iberian pigs from 15 to 50 kg body weight. British Journal of Nutrition 88, 3949.
NRC (1998). Nutrient Requirements of Swine. 10th revised edn, Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Olesen, H. P., Sjøntoft, E. & Tronier, B. (1989). Simultaneous sampling of portal, hepatic and systemic blood during intragastric loading and tracer infusion in conscious pigs. Laboratory Animal Science 39, 429432.
Ortigues, I., Durand, D. & Lefaivre, J. (1994). Use of para amino hippuric acid to measure blood flows through portal drained viscera, liver and hindquarters in sheep. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 122, 299308.
Paschen, U. & Müller, M. J. (1986). Serial blood sampling from the portal and hepatic vein in conscious unrestrained miniature pigs. Research in Experimental Medicine 186, 8792.
Rerat, A., Vaugelade, P. & Villiers, P. (1980). A new method for measuring the absorption of nutrients in the pig: critical examination. In Current Concepts of Digestion and Absorption in Pigs (Eds Low, A. G. & , I.Partridge, G.), pp. 177216. Techical Bulletin No. 3. Reading, UK: National Institute for Research in Dairying.
Rodríguez-López, J. M., Lachica, M., González-Valero, L. & Fernández-Fígares, I. (2010). Energy expenditure of splanchnic tissues in Iberian and Landrace growing gilts. Livestock Science 133, 6163.
Seldinger, S. I. (1953). Catheter replacement of the needle in percutaneous arteriography. Acta Radiologica 39, 368376.
Smith, H. W., Finkelstein, N., Aliminosa, L., Crawford, B. & Graber, M. (1945). The renal clearances of substituted hippuric acid derivatives and other aromatic acids in dogs and man. Journal of Clinical Investigation 24, 388404.
Smith, S., Dawson, S., Hennessey, R. & Andrew, M. (1991). Maintenance of the patency of indwelling central venous catheters: is heparin necessary? American Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 13, 141143.
Swindle, M. M. (2009). Chronic Intravascular Intervention in Swine: Peripheral Vessels. Catheterization Series. Columbia, MO: Sinclair Research Center. Available online at (verified 28 June 2012).
Ten Have, G. A. M., Bost, M. C. F., Suyk-Wierts, J. C. A. W., Van Den Bogaard, A. E. J. M. & Deutz, N. E. P. (1996). Simultaneous measurement of metabolic flux in portally-drained viscera, liver, spleen, kidney and hindquarter in the conscious pig. Laboratory Animals 30, 347358.
Van Der Meulen, J., Bakker, G. C. M., Bakker, J. G. M., De Visser, H., Jongbloed, A. W. & Everts, H. (1997). Effect of resistant starch on net portal-drained viscera flux of glucose, volatile fatty acids, urea, and ammonia in growing pigs. Journal of Animal Science 75, 26972704.
Van Leeuwen, P., Leuvenink, H. G. D., Haasbroek, W. M., Priem, G., Bosch, M. & Van Kleef, D. J. (1995). A portal vein catheterization technique in pigs and sheep, and postprandial changes of pO2, pCO2, pH, urea, ammonia, and creatinine and proteins in portal and arterial blood measured in pigs. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 73, 3846.
Yen, J. T. & Killefer, J. (1987). A method for chronically quantifying net absorption of nutrients and gut metabolites into hepatic portal vein in conscious swine. Journal of Animal Science 64, 923934.
Yen, J. T., Varel, V. H. & Nienaber, J. A. (2004). Metabolic and microbial responses in western crossbred and Meishan growing pigs fed a high-fiber diet. Journal of Animal Science 82, 17401755.

Approaches for quantifying gastrointestinal nutrient absorption and metabolism in a native and a modern pig breed



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed