An official journal of the Society for Biology of Reproduction and the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn

March 2014 (No. 1)

Intrauterine growth retarded piglet as a model for humans – Studies on the perinatal development of the gut structure and function

Karolina Ferenc ab, Piotr Pietrzak a, Michał M. Godlewski a, Jan Piwowarski b, Robert Kiliańczyk a, Paul Guilloteau c, Romuald Zabielski a,*

a Department of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-766 Warsaw, Poland

b Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

c INRA, Unité 1341, Nutrition et Adaptations Digestives, Nerveuses et Comportementales (ADNC), Domaine de la Prise, 35590 Saint-Gilles, France

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The overall acceptance of pig models for human biomedical studies is steadily growing. Results of rodent studies are usually confirmed in pigs before extrapolating them to humans. This applies particularly to gastrointestinal and metabolism research due to similarities between pig and human physiology. In this context, intrauterine growth retarded (IUGR) pig neonate can be regarded as a good model for the better understanding of the IUGR syndrome in humans. In pigs, the induction of IUGR syndrome may include maternal diet intervention, dexamethasone treatment or temporary reduction of blood supply. However, in pigs, like in humans, circa 8% of neonates develop IUGR syndrome spontaneously. Studies on the pig model have shown changes in gut structure, namely a reduced thickness of mucosa and muscle layers, and delayed kinetic of disappearance of vacuolated enterocytes were found in IUGR individuals in comparison with healthy ones. Functional changes include reduced dynamic of gut mucosa rebuilding, decreased activities of main brush border enzymes, and changes in the expression of proteins important for carbohydrate, amino acids, lipid, mineral and vitamin metabolism. Moreover, profiles of intestinal hormones are different in IUGR and non-IUGR piglets. It is suggested that supplementation of the mothers during the gestation and/or the IUGR offspring after birth can help in restoring the development of the gastrointestinal tract. The pig provides presumably the optimal animal model for humans to study gastrointestinal tract structure and function development in IUGR syndrome.

Reproductive Biology 2014 14 1: 51-60

* Corresponding author: Department of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 159 Nowoursynowska Street, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland. E-mail address: (RZ).