Effects of Astragalus Polysaccharides, Achyranthes bidentata Polysaccharides, and Acantbepanax senticosus Saponin on the Performance and Immunity in Weaned Pigs

  • Kang, P. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Xiao, H.L. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Hou, Y.Q. (Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences) ;
  • Ding, B.Y. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Liu, Y.L. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Zhu, H.L. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Hu, Q.Z. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Hu, Y. (Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University) ;
  • Yin, Y.L. (Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  • Received : 2009.10.16
  • Accepted : 2009.12.11
  • Published : 2010.06.01


Two trials were conducted to study the effects of two Chinese herbal polysaccharides, Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) and Achyranthes bidentata polysaccharides (ABPS), and one Chinese herbal saponin, Acantbepanax senticosus saponin (ASS), on the immunity and growth performance of weaned pigs. Experiment 1 was a 14-day growth assay, in which 32 weaned pigs were randomly allocated to one of four dietary treatments: i) 0.05% talcum powder control; ii) 0.05% APS; iii) 0.05% mixture of APS and ASS in a 1:1 ratio by weight; and iv) 0.05% mixture of APS, ASS, and ABPS in a ratio of 1:1:1 by weight. Blood samples were collected on day 14 to determine plasma parameters. Feed intake, body weight gain, and feed efficiency were also determined. Experiment 2 was a 21-day immunity assay, in which 16 weaned pigs were randomly allotted to one of two dietary treatments: i) 0.05% talcum powder control; and ii) 0.05% mixture of APS and ASS in a 1:1 ratio by weight. On day 21, pigs were challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and 3 h later blood samples were collected and analyzed for lymphocyte proliferation as well as interleukin 6 (IL-6), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), growth hormone (GH), and cortisol levels. In Experiment 1, feeding Chinese herbal polysaccharides and saponin increased growth performance of the pigs. The effects of the mixture of APS and ASS were especially notable, as there was a significant improvement in growth performance compared with the control (p<0.05). The plasma concentration of immunoglobulin G (IgG), nitric oxide (NO), and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) were increased in all treatments groups, with the mixture of APS and ASS increasing the level of IgG and NOS significantly (p<0.05), compared with the control. There was no difference in the NO level between the control and treatment groups (p>0.05). In Experiment 2, Chinese herbal polysaccharides and saponin showed immunostimulating effects. The level of cortisol, GH, and IGF-I were significantly increased (p>0.05), and the level of IL-6 showed a significant decrease (p<0.05) in the APS and ASS treatment after the LPS challenge. The mixture of APS and ASS could stimulate the blood lymphocyte proliferation significantly whether the LPS was injected or not (p<0.05). These results show that Chinese herbal extracts can improve growth performance and stimulate immunity of weaned pigs. A mixture of APS and ASS, compared with APS alone, could be a new kind of immunostimulant for weaned pigs, which could result in greater positive effects on their growth performance and immunity.


Astragalus Polysaccharides;Achyranthes bidentata Polysaccharides;Acantbepanax senticosus Saponin;Growth Performance;Immunity;Weaned Pigs


Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China, Innovative Research Groups of Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation


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