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  • Author or Editor: Fabián A. Amanto x
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To describe citrullinemia profiles during the weaning transition and correlate citrulline production with stress and growth in a commercial pig farm.


240 healthy piglets of homogenous weight, weaned from second and third parity sows, were selected at weaning and subjected to the farm’s routine management practices in May to July 2020 and May to July 2021.


Piglets were weighed at weaning, then 15 and 49 days later in order to calculate daily weight gain during the first 15 and 49 days after weaning. Blood samples were collected from each piglet to determine citrulline and cortisol profiles during the early postweaning period.


Citrullinemia decreased dramatically during the first week postweaning and then increased progressively to reach preweaning values by 15 days postweaning. Citrulline production during the first 2 weeks postweaning was negatively correlated with cortisol production (r: –0.2949) and positively correlated with mean daily weight gain during the first 15 (ρ: 0.5450) and 49 (ρ: 0.6603) days postweaning.


Citrullinemia profile of piglets during the early postweaning period showed a temporal negative impact of stress (assessed by plasmatic cortisol levels) on intestinal enterocytes’ mass and function, which resulted in a lower average daily weight gain. We demonstrated that a single biomarker, plasmatic citrulline, is useful to describe intestinal metabolism during the early postweaning period and that the greater the citrulline production during the first days after weaning, the higher the weight gain during the entire postweaning period.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association