A mix of functional amino acids and grape polyphenols promotes the growth of piglets, modulates the gut microbiota in vivo and regulates epithelial homeostasis in intestinal organoids

Amino Acids. 2022 Oct;54(10):1357-1369. doi: 10.1007/s00726-021-03082-9. Epub 2021 Oct 12.


Weaning is a challenging period for gut health in piglets. Previous studies showed that dietary supplementations with either amino acids or polyphenols promote piglet growth and intestinal functions, when administered separately. Thus, we hypothesized that a combination of amino acids and polyphenols could facilitate the weaning transition. Piglets received during the first two weeks after weaning a diet supplemented or not with a mix of a low dose (0.1%) of functional amino acids (L-arginine, L-leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine, L-cystine) and 100 ppm of a polyphenol-rich extract from grape seeds and skins. The mix of amino acids and polyphenols improved growth and feed efficiency. These beneficial effects were associated with a lower microbiota diversity and a bloom of Lactobacillaceae in the jejunum content while the abundance of Proteobacteria was reduced in the caecum content. The mix of amino acids and polyphenols also increased the production by the caecum microbiota of short-chain fatty acids (butyrate, propionate) and of metabolites derived from amino acids (branched-chain fatty acids, valerate, putrescine) and from polyphenols (3-phenylpropionate). Experiments in piglet jejunum organoids revealed that the mix of amino acids and polyphenols upregulated the gene expression of epithelial differentiation markers while it reduced the gene expression of proliferation and innate immunity markers. In conclusion, the supplementation of a mix of amino acids and polyphenols is a promising nutritional strategy to manage gut health in piglets through the modulation of the gut microbiota and of the epithelial barrier.

Keywords: Arginine; Cystine; Enteroids; Isoleucine; Leucine; Metabolites; Tannins; Valine; Weaning.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Homeostasis
  • Organoids
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology
  • Swine
  • Vitis*
  • Weaning


  • Polyphenols
  • Amino Acids