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Animal Science, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

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Journal of Animal Science





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The objective of this experiment was to investigate the impact of an F18 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) challenge on growth performance, aspects of intestinal function, and selected immune responses of piglets, as well as to evaluate potential protective effects of direct-fed microbial (DFM) blends. Seventy-two weaned piglets (6.4 ± 0.2 kg body weight [BW]; ~21 d of age) were assigned to one of four treatments: 1) NC: Nonchallenged (n = 10), 2) positive challenged control (PC): F18 ETEC-challenged (n = 10), 3) PC + DFM1 (n = 8; three strains of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens; 7.5 × 105 colony-forming units [cfu]/g), or 4) PC + DFM2 (n=8; 2 strains of B. amyloliquefaciens and one strain of Bacillus subtilis; 1.5 × 105 cfu/g). Feed intake and BW were recorded on day 0, 7, and 17. Pigs were sham-infected either with 6 mL phosphate-buffered saline or inoculated with 6 mL F18 ETEC (~1.9 × 109 cfu/mL) on day 7 (0 d postinoculation [dpi]). All ETEC-challenged pigs were confirmed to be genetically susceptible to F18. Pigs had ad libitum access to feed and water throughout the 17-d trial. Fecal scores were visually ranked and rectal temperatures were recorded daily. To evaluate ETEC shedding, fecal swabs were collected on dpi 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10. Blood samples were collected on dpi 0, 1, 2, 4, 7, and 10. Ileal tissues were collected at necropsy on dpi 10. All challenged treatments had lower final BW, decreased average daily gain (ADG), and average daily feed intake (ADFI) during the 10-d postchallenge period (P < 0.01). The DFM2 treatment increased E. coli shedding on dpi 2 and decreased iton dpi 7 (P < 0.05) compared with the PC. Rectal temperature decreased across all challenged treatments (P < 0.01). Ileal mRNA abundance of occludin (OCLN) and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) decreased in PC and DFM1 compared with NC (P < 0.05). Pigs fed DFM2 had intermediate ileal mRNA abundance of OCLN and increased ZO-1 mRNA compared with pigs in PC (P < 0.05). Interleukin 8 (IL-8) increased in the plasma of PC and DFM2 on dpi 2 compared with NC (P < 0.05). Mucosal IL-8 increased in PC compared with NC (P < 0.05). All challenged treatments tended to have elevated tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) mRNA abundance compared with NC (P < 0.10). Challenged pigs had reduced secretory immunoglobulin A and villus height compared with NC pigs (P < 0.05). The impact of an ETEC challenge on intestinal function and the immune system has been revealed, information critical to developing improved treatment regimes.


This article is published as Becker, Spenser L., Qingyun Li, Eric R. Burrough, Danielle Kenne, Orhan Sahin, Stacie A. Gould, and John F. Patience. "Effects of an F18 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli challenge on growth performance, immunological status, and gastrointestinal structure of weaned pigs and the potential protective effect of direct-fed microbial blends." Journal of animal science 98, no. 5 (2020): skaa113. doi:10.1093/jas/skaa113.

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