Changes in Energy Metabolism in Piglets During Their Suckling Period, A Research by Dr. Yulong Yin


Dr.Yulong Yin, a renowned Chinese scientist in the field of animal nutrition and feed science, has done an outstanding research on energy metabolism of piglets during their suckling period. Dr. Yulong Yin and his team have tested the hypothesis that the energy metabolism of piglets will change during their suckling period. For this, his team has started an experiment with 24 piglets from 8 different litters. Out of 8 litters, 3 piglets were collected from each litter making of 24 piglets for this experiment. One piglet was randomly selected from each litter and euthanized at 7, 14 or 21 days of age respectively. After that, they have extracted the crypt cells from mid-jejunum and done protein synthesis using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ). During this experiment, the production of proteins related to glycolysis was decreased from days 7 to 14, also the synthesis of proteins involved in fatty acids, amino acids and citrate cycle metabolism was low when compared with the samples collected from days 14 and 21 with day 7. Therefore, from the results obtained by Dr. Yulong Yin and his team from this experiment indicated that the energy metabolism in the intestinal crypt epithelial cells of a piglet changes during their suckling period. From this study, it will be helpful in regulating the intestinal development of piglets.  


According to gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of biological process, the synthesized proteins which were obtained from epithelial cells of mid-jejunum are mainly within the categories of cellular process, metabolic process, biological regulation, pigmentation, localization, multicellular organismal process, establishment of localization, response to stimulus, and developmental process. See below for the detailed pie chart of the above said.


Piglets during 3-4 weeks of their age are usually weaned. During their suckling period, their gastrointestinal track grows rapidly within the first four weeks of their age. For example, the weight of small intestine of a piglet increases six-fold within the first four weeks of its age.  The major change occurs in the intestinal mucosa itself and also, the size, shape, height and density of the small intestine will also be altered during the first three weeks of piglet’s age. Similar changes like alteration in intestinal size, shape and weight also observed in mice and rats.

Dr. Yulong Yin and his team have found that the synthesis of proteins related to rapid increase in cell numbers in the crypt which supports their previous study demonstrating the relationship between piglet lactation and rapid increase in cell numbers in the crypt.  


Finally, from the above experiment, Dr. Yulong yin and his team has concluded that, there will be changes in metabolic activity in the crypt epithelial cells of piglets during their suckling period. Also, the glucose metabolism will increase and metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids will decrease during this period. This study will help in regulating the intestinal development in piglets during their suckling period.

About the Author:

Dr. Yulong Yin, Academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is a renowned Chinese scientist in the field of animal nutrition and feed science. He and his team published a total of 318 SCI articles which have been cited 8,165 times (including 5,748 cites by the world-famous magazine Nature, and PNAS (American Academy of Sciences), among others). With an H-index of as high as 48, he was listed among Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates in both 2014 and 2015 and was honored as a Chinese Citation Laureate (the only winner in the Chinese agricultural sector). His other publications include another 389 articles in Chinese journals with 3,933 citations (among which, 3,625 citations by others) and six Chinese or English monographs. In addition, he obtained 38 patents for invention.

Dr. Yin and his team made major breakthroughs in addressing pressing issues of nutrition, pig feed formulations, and pollutions caused by pig production. The team focused on improving nutrient utilization rate in pig feed. Through technical innovations in fistula and portal vein cannulation, they put in place a regulatory system for pig intestine energy, protein, amino acids and trace elements, and developed functional pig nutrition regulators and environmentally friendly feed products.


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2. Bai MM, Liu HN, Xu K, Zou BJ, Yu R, Liu YH, Xing WG, Du HT, Li Y, Yin YL*. Effects of dietary coated cysteamine hydrochloride on pork color in finishing pigs. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2018, 98(5): 1743-1750.

3. Bin P, Liu S, Chen S, Zeng Z, Huang RL, Yin YL, Liu G*. The effect of aspartate supplementation on the microbial composition and innate immunity on mice. Amino Acids, 2017, 49(12):2045-2051.

4. Chen S, Bin P, Ren WK, Gao W, Liu G*, Yin J, Duan J, Li Y, Yao K, Huang R, Tan B, Yin YL. Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) lowers body weight and affects intestinal innate immunity through influencing intestinal microbiota. Oncotarget, 2017, 8(24):38184-38192.

5. Duan YH, Guo QP, Wen CY, Wang WL, Li YH, Tan BE, Li FN*, Yin YL*. Interleukin-15 in obesity and metabolic dysfunction: current understanding and future perspectives. Obesity Reviews, 2017, 18(10): 1147-1158.

6. Duan YH, Li FN, Guo QP, Wang WL, Zhang LY, Wen CY, and Yin YL. Branched-chain amino acid ratios modulate lipid metabolism in adipose tissues of growing pigs. Journal of Function Foods, 2018, 40: 614-624.

7. Duan YH, Tan BE*, Li JJ, Liao P, Huang B, Li FN, Xiao H, Liu YH, Yin YL. Optimal branched-chain amino acid improve cell proliferation and protein metabolism of porcine enterocytes in vivo and in vitro. Nutrition, 2018, 54: 173-181.

8. Gao J, Xu K*, Liu HL, Liu G, Bai MM, Peng C, Li TJ, Yin YL*. Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Intestinal Immunity Mediated by Tryptophan Metabolism. Front Cell Infect Microbiol, 2018, 8:13.

9. Han H, Li YY, Fang J, Liu G, Yin J*, Li T*, Yin YL. Gut Microbiota and Type 1 Diabetes. Int J Mol Sci, 2018, 19(4): E995.

10. Hussain T, Tan BE*, Yin YL*, Liu G, Murtaza G, Rahu N, Saleem M. Modulatory mechanism of polyphenols and Nrf2 signaling pathway in LPS challenged pregnancy disorders. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017, (2017): 8254289.

11. Ji YJ, Kong XF*, Li HW, Zhu Q, Guo QP, Yin YL*. Effects of dietary nutrient level on microbial community composition and diversity in ileal contents of pregnant Huanjiang mini-pigs. PLOS One, 2017, 12(2): e0172086.

12. Jiang Q, Chen JS, Liu SJ, Liu G, Yao K, Yin YL. L-Glutamine Attenuates Apoptosis Induced by Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress by Activating the IRE1α-XBP1 Axis in IPEC-J2: A Novel Mechanism of l-Glutamine in Promoting Intestinal Health. International Juornal of molecular Science,2017, 18(12): 2617.

13. Liao P, Shu XG, Tang M, Tan BE, Yin YL. Effect of dietary copper source (inorganic vs. chelated) on immune response, mineral status, and fecal mineral excretion in nursery piglets. Food and Agricultural Immunolgy, 2018, doi: 10.1080/09540105.2017.1416068

14. Liu YL, Zhang K, Wan D, Zhou XH, Ruan Z, Wu X*, Yin YL. Dynamic feeding low and high methionine diets affect the diurnal rhythm of amino acid transporters and clock related genes in jejunum of laying hens. Biological Rhythm Research, 2018, 98(1): 415-421.

15. Ren WK, Wang P, Yan J, Liu G*, Zeng B, Hussain T, Peng C, Yin J, Tan BE*, Li TJ, Wei H, Zhu G, Reiter RJ, Yin YL*. Melatonin alleviates weanling stress in mice: involvement of intestinal microbiota. Journal of Pineal Research, 2018, 2(64):e12448.

16.Tang YL, Tan BE*, Li GR, Li JJ, Ji P, Yin YL*. The Regulatory Role of MeAIB in Protein Metabolism and the mTOR Signaling Pathway in Porcine Enterocytes. Int J Mol Sci, 2018, 19(3): 714.

17. Tang YL, Li JJ, Liao SM,  Qi M,  Kong XF, Tan BE, Yin YL*, Wang JQ*. The effect of dietary protein intake on immune status in pigs of different genotypes. 2018, Food and Agricultural Immunology, DOI: 10.1080/09540105.2018.1455812

18. Xia YY, Li J(co-first author), Ren WK, Feng ZM*, Huang RL*, Yin YL. Transcriptomic analysis on responses of the liver and kidney of finishing pigs feeding cadmium contaminated rice. J Sci Food Agric, 2018, 98(8): 2964-2972.

19. Yang, H., Xiong, X., Wang, X. & Yin, Y. Mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway changes with intestinal epithelial cells renewal along crypt-villus axis. Cell. Physiol. Biochem. 39, 751–759 (2016).

20. Yang, H., Wang, X., Xiong, X. & Yin, Y. Energy metabolism in intestinal epithelial cells during maturation along the crypt-villus axis. Sci. Rep. 6, 31917 (2016).

21. Yin, YL. et al. Pig models on intestinal development and therapeutics. Amino Acids 49, 2099–2106 (2017).

22. Yin J, Li YY, Han H, Liu ZJ, Zeng XF, Li TJ*, Yin YL*. Long-term effects of lysine concentration on growth performance, intestinal microbiome, and metabolic profiles in a pig model. Food &Function, 2018, 9(8): 4153-4163.

23. Yin J, Ren WK*, Chen S, Li YY, Han H, Gao J, Liu G, Wu X, Li TJ*, Woo Kim S, Yin YL. Metabolic Regulation of Methionine Restriction in Diabetes. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2018, 62(10): 1700951.

24. Yin J, Ren WK, Huang XG, Li TJ*, Yin YL*. Protein restriction and cancer. Biochim Biophys Acta, 2018, 1869(2): 256-262.

25. Zhou XH, Zhang YM, Wu X, Wan D, Yin YL. Effects of Dietary Serine Supplementation on Intestinal Integrity, and Inflammation and Oxidative Status in Early-Weaned Piglets. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, 2018, 48: 993-1002.

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