Liu H, Feye KM, Nguyen YT, Rakhshandeh A, Loving CL, Dekkers JCM, Gabler NK and Tuggle CK
BMC Genomics. 2019 Oct 11;20(1):728. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-6127-x.
It is unclear whether improving feed efficiency by selection for low residual feed intake (RFI) compromises pigs' immunocompetence. Here, we aimed at investigating whether pig lines divergently selected for RFI had different inflammatory responses to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure, regarding to clinical presentations and transcriptomic changes in peripheral blood cells.
LPS injection induced acute systemic inflammation in both the low-RFI and high-RFI line (n = 8 per line). At 4 h post injection (hpi), the low-RFI line had a significantly lower (p = 0.0075) mean rectal temperature compared to the high-RFI line. However, no significant differences in complete blood count or levels of several plasma cytokines were detected between the two lines. Profiling blood transcriptomes at 0, 2, 6, and 24 hpi by RNA-sequencing revealed that LPS induced dramatic transcriptional changes, with 6296 genes differentially expressed at at least one time point post injection relative to baseline in at least one line (n = 4 per line) (|log2(fold change)| ≥ log2(1.2); q < 0.05). Furthermore, applying the same cutoffs, we detected 334 genes differentially expressed between the two lines at at least one time point, including 33 genes differentially expressed between the two lines at baseline. But no significant line-by-time interaction effects were detected. Genes involved in protein translation, defense response, immune response, and signaling were enriched in different co-expression clusters of genes responsive to LPS stimulation. The two lines were largely similar in their peripheral blood transcriptomic responses to LPS stimulation at the pathway level, although the low-RFI line had a slightly lower level of inflammatory response than the high-RFI line from 2 to 6 hpi and a slightly higher level of inflammatory response than the high-RFI line at 24 hpi.
The pig lines divergently selected for RFI had a largely similar response to LPS stimulation. However, the low-RFI line had a relatively lower-level, but longer-lasting, inflammatory response compared to the high-RFI line. Our results suggest selection for feed efficient pigs does not significantly compromise a pig's acute systemic inflammatory response to LPS, although slight differences in intensity and duration may occur.