Oral administration of short chain fatty acids could attenuate fat deposition of pigs

PLoS One. 2018 May 3;13(5):e0196867. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196867. eCollection 2018.


Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are the main products of indigestible carbohydrates that are fermented by microbiota in the hindgut. This study was designed to investigate the effects of oral SCFAs administration on the lipid metabolism of weaned pigs. A total of 21 barrows were randomly allocated into three groups, including control group (orally infused with 200 mL physiological saline per day), low dose SCFAs group (orally infused with 200 mL SCFAs containing acetic acid 20.04 mM, propionic acid 7.71 mM and butyric acid 4.89 mM per day), and high dose SCFAs group (orally infused with 200 mL SCFAs containing acetic acid 40.08 mM, propionic acid 15.42 mM and butyric acid 9.78 mM per day). The results showed that the average daily feed intake of SCFAs groups were lower than that of control group (P<0.05). Oral administration of SCFAs decreased the concentrations of triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol and insulin (P<0.05), and increased the leptin concentration in serum (P<0.05). The total fat, as well as TC and TG levels in liver, was decreased by oral SCFAs administration (P<0.05). In addition, SCFAs down-regulated the mRNA expressions of fatty acid synthase (FAS) and sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (P<0.05), and enhanced the mRNA expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1α (CPT-1α) in liver (P<0.05). SCFAs also decreased FAS, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor σ mRNA expressions in longissimus dorsi (P<0.05). And in abdominal fat, SCFAs reduced FAS and ACC mRNA expressions (P<0.05), and increased CPT-1α mRNA expression (P<0.05). These results suggested that oral administration of SCFAs could attenuate fat deposition in weaned pigs via reducing lipogenesis and enhancing lipolysis of different tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Butyric Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / genetics
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / metabolism
  • Castration
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Lipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Lipogenesis / genetics
  • Lipolysis / drug effects*
  • Lipolysis / genetics
  • Male
  • PPAR delta / genetics
  • PPAR delta / metabolism
  • Propionates / administration & dosage*
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weaning
  • fas Receptor / genetics
  • fas Receptor / metabolism


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • PPAR delta
  • Propionates
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Triglycerides
  • fas Receptor
  • Butyric Acid
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase
  • propionic acid
  • Acetic Acid

Grants and funding

This study was financially funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31672436), the earmarked fund for the China Agricultural Research System (CARS-35), Sichuan Province Science and Technology Support Project (2012NZ0001), the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB531406), and the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2014AA022209) to DWC. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.