Effect of dietary nutrients on osteochondrosis lesions and cartilage properties in pigs

Am J Vet Res. 2008 May;69(5):617-24. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.69.5.617.


Objective: To evaluate dietary ingredients involved in cartilage and bone metabolism and their influence on osteochondrosis lesions in swine.

Animals: 80 crossbred gilts (mean initial weight, 39 kg).

Procedures: Pigs (10 pigs/treatment) were fed a corn-soybean meal basal (control) diet or the basal diet supplemented with additional minerals (copper and manganese or silicon), amino acids (proline and glycine; a combination of leucine, isoleucine, and valine; or methionine and threonine), or fatty acids (provided by fish oil) for 84 days. Pigs were then slaughtered and the distal portion of the left femur was collected for determination of osteochondrosis lesions at the femoral condyle. After evaluation of external joint surfaces, the distal portion of the femur was sectioned to evaluate lesions in the growth plate and articular cartilage. Additionally, a cartilage specimen was obtained from the patella for analysis.

Results: Pigs fed diets containing high amounts of methionine and threonine or the diet containing all additional ingredients had significantly lower total severity scores, compared with scores for pigs fed the control diet or a diet supplemented with fish oil. Pigs fed diets containing additional proline and glycine, copper and manganese, methionine and threonine, or all additional ingredients had significantly lower overall scores, compared with scores for pigs fed the control diet or a diet supplemented with fish oil.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Dietary manipulation decreased the severity of osteochondrosis lesions, compared with results for pigs fed a control diet. However, additional research on optimal concentrations and combinations of dietary components is needed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cartilage / chemistry
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / metabolism
  • Manganese / metabolism
  • Osteochondritis / metabolism
  • Osteochondritis / pathology
  • Osteochondritis / veterinary*
  • Silicon / metabolism
  • Swine Diseases / metabolism*
  • Swine Diseases / pathology


  • Amino Acids
  • Fish Oils
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Silicon