Muscle growth requires a constant supply of amino acids (AAs) from the blood. Therefore, plasma AA profile is a critical factor for maximizing the growth performance of animals, including pigs. This research was conducted to study how dietary lysine intake affects plasma AA profile in pigs at the late production stage. Eighteen crossbred (Large White × Landrace) finishing pigs (nine barrows and nine gilts; initial BW 92.3 ± 6.9 kg) were individually penned in an environment controlled barn. Pigs were assigned randomly to one of the three dietary treatments according to a randomized complete block design with sex as block and pig as experiment unit (6 pigs/treatment). Three corn- and soybean meal-based diets contained 0.43 % (lysine-deficient, Diet I), 0.71 % (lysine-adequate, Diet II), and 0.98 % (lysine-excess, Diet III) l-lysine, respectively. After a 4-week period of feeding, jugular vein blood samples were collected from the pigs and plasma was obtained for AA analysis using established HPLC methods. The change of plasma lysine concentration followed the same pattern as that of dietary lysine supply. The plasma concentrations of threonine, histidine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, valine, arginine, and citrulline of pigs fed Diet II or III were lower (P < 0.05) than that of pigs fed Diet I. The plasma concentrations of alanine, glutamate, and glycine of pigs fed Diet II or III were higher (P < 0.05) than that of pigs fed Diet I. The change of plasma leucine and asparagine concentrations followed the patterns similar to that of plasma lysine. Among those affected AAs, arginine was decreased (P < 0.05) in the greatest proportion with the lysine-excess diet. We suggest that the skeletal muscle growth of finishing pigs may be further increased with a lysine-excess diet if the plasma concentration of arginine can be increased through dietary supplementation or other practical nutritional management strategies.
Keywords: Amino acid profile; Arginine; Dietary lysine supply; Lysine; Plasma; Swine.