Thermoregulatory responses during thermal acclimation in pigs divergently selected for residual feed intake

Published on: 4/5/2021
Author/s : Paulo Henrique Reis Furtado Campos 1,2; Jean Noblet 1,3; Yolande Jaguelin-Peyraud 1,3; Hélène Gilbert 4,5; Pierre Mormède 4; Rita Flavia Miranda de Oliveira Donzele 2; Juarez Lopes Donzele 2 and David Renaudeau 1,3,6.

Author details:

1 INRA, UMR 1348 PEGASE, 35590 Saint-Gilles, France; 2 Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa/UFV,Viçosa, M G, Brazil; 3 Agrocampus Ouest, UMR 1348 PEGASE, 35000 Rennes, France; 4 INRA, UMR 444 LGC, 31326 Toulouse, France; 5 INRA, UMR 1313 GABI, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France; 6 INRA, UR 143 URZ, 97170 Petit Bourg, France.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance and thermoregulatory responses during acclimation to high ambient temperature (Ta) of pigs from two lines selected for high (RFI+) or low (RFI−) residual feed intake with the hypothesis that RFI− pigs producing less heat would better tolerate high Ta. Pigs (50 kg initial body weight; 17 per line among which 10 of them were catheterized) were individually housed in a climatic-controlled room where Ta was maintained at 24.2 ± 0.4 °C during 7 days and thereafter at 30.4 ± 0.7 °C during 14 days. Irrespective of Ta, RFI− pigs had lower feed intake (ADFI) and similar average daily gain (ADG) than RFI+ pigs. Whatever the line, ADFI, ADG, and feed efficiency decreased with increased Ta. Overall, the Ta increase resulted in an increase in rectal temperature (RT), skin temperature (ST), and respiratory rate (RR) within the first 24–48 h and, subsequently, in a decrease followed by stabilization. The RT decrease during acclimation occurred 24 h earlier in RFI− pigs than in RFI+. Thyroid hormones and cortisol decreased at high Ta and it was similar in both lines. Based on performance and RT, ST, and RR responses, it seems that selection for low RFI tends to ameliorate pigs’ tolerance to high Ta. Nevertheless, this selection does not induce significant differences between lines in endocrine and metabolite responses during thermal stress.

Keywords: Adaptation, Growing pigs, Heat stress, Hormones, Residual feed intake.


Abstract published in International Journal of Biometeorology 58, 1545–1557 (2014).

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