High progesterone levels at farrowing impair colostrum IgG concentration and colostrum yield in sow

Published on: 2/15/2018
Author/s : Hasan S.M.K. 1, Junnikkala S. 2, Peltoniemi O. 1, Oliviero C.1. / 1 Department of Production Animal Medicine; 2 Department of Veterinary Biosciences Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 57, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Lactogenesis is induced hormonally by a dramatic drop of progesterone (P4) concentrations which leads to a pre-partum peak of prolactin (PRL). In sows, impaired production of colostrum has been found to be related to a delay in the decrease of P4 concentrations during the pre-partum period.

We assumed that this condition might affect also the quality of colostrum (IgG concentration). Our aim was to investigate the relationship between abnormally high P4 levels at parturition with colostrum yield (CY) and its IgG content in sows.


Materials & methods

Sample collection

  • Blood samples (n=38) from vena saphena medialis to assess P4 concentration at the beginning of parturition.
  • Colostrum samples (n=38) were obtained between 0-3 h after the birth of first piglet.
  • Individual piglets' weight at 0 and 24 h of age


Sample analysis & criteria

  • Plasma P4 concentrations by RIA at lab and values were grouped P4> 4.0 ng/ml (high p4 ) and P4< 4.0 ng/ml (low p4)
  • Colostrum IgG by pig ELISA
  • Colostrum production by weight suckle weight method




Sows with an abnormal high P4 concentration at farrowing tended to have lower IgG content and CY, which might indicate hormonal disruption during the farrowing, with potential negative effects on piglets colostrum uptake.

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