Maternal low-dose porcine somatotropin treatment in late gestation increases progeny weight at birth and weaning in sows but not in gilts

K. L. Gatford, R. J. Smits, C. L. Collins, M. J. de Blasio, C. T. Roberts, M. B. Nottle, W. H.E.J. van Wettere, K. L. Kind, J. A. Owens

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Birth weight positively predicts postnatal growth and performance in pigs and can be increased by sustained maternal porcine ST (pST) treatment from d 25 to 100 of pregnancy (term ~115 d). The objective of this study was to test whether a shorter period of maternal pST treatment in late pregnancy (d 75 to 100) could also increase birth and weaning weights of progeny under commercial conditions. Gilts (parity 0) and sows (parities 2 and 3) were not injected (controls) or injected daily with pST (gilts: 2.5 mg · d-1, sows: 4.0 mg · d-1, both ~13 to 14 μg · kg-1 d-1) from d 75 to 100 of pregnancy. Litter size and BW were recorded at birth and weaning, and dams were followed through the subsequent mating and pregnancy. Maternal pST injections from d 75 to 100 increased litter average progeny weight at birth (+96 g, P = 0.034) and weaning (+430 g, P = 0.038) in sows, but had no effect on progeny weight in gilts (each P > 0.5). Maternal pST treatment did not affect numbers of live-born piglets and increased numbers of stillborn piglets in sows only (+0.4 pigs/litter, P = 0.034). Maternal pST treatment did not affect subsequent reproduction of dams. Together with our previous data, these results suggest that sustained increases in maternal pST during pregnancy are required to increase fetal and postnatal growth in gilt progeny, but that increasing maternal pST in late pregnancy may only be an effective strategy to increase fetal and possibly postnatal growth in sow progeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1428-1435
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth weight
  • Litter size
  • Pig
  • Pregnancy
  • Somatotropin
  • Subsequent reproduction

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