R. Bras. Zootec.. 01/Jun/2017;46(6):537-44.
Physiological responses of growing pigs to high ambient temperature and/or inflammatory challenges
Global warming is one of the major environmental threats facing the world in the 21st century. This fact will have a significant impact on pig production due to its direct effects on welfare, health, and performance of pigs. Besides, the effects of high temperatures will presumably become more important over the next decades due to the development of pig production in developing countries mainly located in tropical and subtropical areas, where animals are often exposed to ambient temperatures above their thermal comfort zone. Furthermore, pigs reared in tropical areas are often confronted to sanitary challenges including poor hygiene conditions, lack of respect for sanitary rules, and pathogens. This results in the stimulation of the immune system and, as a consequence, in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and neuroendocrine adjustments that, in turn, usually have a negative impact on growth and feed efficiency. Although the effects of high ambient temperature and disease on pig physiology and performance have been well documented in literature, little is known about the associated effects of both factors. This understanding may contribute to a better quantification and comprehension of the physiological and metabolic disturbances occurring in practical conditions of pig production in tropical areas and, more generally, in many other geographic areas that will be influenced by the perspective of global warming. Therefore, the objective of this work is to provide an overview of recent research advances on the physiological responses of growing pigs during acclimation to high ambient temperature and on the potential effects of high ambient temperature on the ability of growing pigs to resist, cope with, or recover from an inflammatory challenge.