Gastrointestinal transit time of nondisintegrating radio-opaque pellets in suckling and recently weaned piglets

J Control Release. 2004 Jan 8;94(1):143-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2003.09.015.


The objective was to determine the gastrointestinal (GI) transit times of pellets in piglets at different time points around weaning, as transit times are essential criteria to develop oral drug delivery systems. Nondisintegrating radio-opaque pellets were given orally in order to define the transit times by radiography. The radiographs were analysed with a software programme to calculate the number of pellets present in the different parts of the GI tract. In suckling piglets, the gastric emptying was faster (75% in 1.5 to 3.5 h), and the colonic accumulation (to 73%) was greater than in weaned piglets (3 days, 2 and 3 weeks postweaning, 65% gastric emptying in 18 h, 75% in 17 h, and 75% in 7 h, respectively; maximal colonic accumulations of 48%). Immediately after weaning, the transit was markedly prolonged but shortened with increased postweaning time (3 days, 2 and 3 weeks postweaning, 85% excretion in 175.5, 77, and 50.5 h, respectively). Three weeks postweaning, the transit was no longer affected by weaning as transit times were similar to values reported in growing and adult pigs, and retention appeared to be restricted to the stomach and the colon. These data are of crucial importance in the design of enteric-coated formulations for oral administration of vaccines and therapeutics to young piglets and for human research using the pig model.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism
  • Animals, Suckling / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Swine
  • Weaning