In-feed antibiotics have been used to promote growth in piglets, but its impact on metabolomics profiles associated with host metabolism is largely unknown. In this study, to test the hypothesis that antibiotic treatment may affect metabolite composition both in the gut and host biofluids, metabolomics profiles were analyzed in antibiotic-treated piglets. Piglets were fed a corn-soy basal diet with or without in-feed antibiotics from postnatal day 7 to day 42. The serum biochemical parameters, metabolomics profiles of the serum, urine, and jejunal digesta, and indicators of microbial metabolism (short-chain fatty acids and biogenic amines) were analyzed. Compared to the control group, antibiotics treatment did not have significant effects on serum biochemical parameters except that it increased (P < 0.05) the concentration of urea. Antibiotics treatment increased the relative concentrations of metabolites involved in amino-acid metabolism in the serum, while decreased the relative concentrations of most amino acids in the jejunal content. Antibiotics reduced urinary 2-ketoisocaproate and hippurate. Furthermore, antibiotics decreased (P < 0.05) the concentrations of propionate and butyrate in the feces. Antibiotics significantly affected the concentrations of biogenic amines, which are derived from microbial amino-acid metabolism. The three major amines, putrescine, cadaverine, and spermidine, were all increased (P < 0.05) in the large intestine of antibiotics-treated piglets. These results identified the phenomena that in-feed antibiotics may have significant impact on the metabolomic markers of amino-acid metabolism in piglets.
Keywords: Amino acids; Antibiotics; Host metabolism; Metabolomics; Microbial metabolism; Piglets.