Affiliation: Livestock-Nutrition-Quality Division, BIOSYSTEMS Department, Bioscience Engineering Faculty, Catholic University of Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium.
One of the major challenges in pig production is managing digestive health to maximize feed conversion and growth rates, but also to minimize treatment costs and to warrant public health. There is a great interest in the development of useful tools for intestinal health monitoring and the investigation of possible prophylactic/ therapeutic intervention pathways. A great variety of in vivo and in vitro intestinal models of study have been developed in the recent years. The understanding of such a complex system as the intestinal system (IS), and the study of its physiology and pathology is not an easy task. Analysis of such a complex system requires the use of systems biology techniques, like proteomics. However, for a correct interpretation of results and to maximize analysis performance, a careful selection of the IS model of study and proteomic platform is required. The study of the IS system is especially important in the pig, a species whose farming requires a very careful management of husbandry procedures regarding feeding and nutrition. The incorrect management of the pig digestive system leads directly to economic losses related suboptimal growth and feed utilization and/or the appearance of intestinal infections, in particular diarrhea. Furthermore, this species is the most suitable experimental model for human IS studies. Proteomics has risen as one of the most promising approaches to study the pig IS. In this review, we describe the most useful models of IS research in porcine and the different proteomic platforms available. An overview of the recent findings in pig IS proteomics is also provided.