Relationship between melatonin levels in plasma and gastrointestinal tissues and the incidence and severity of gastric ulcers in pigs
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Four weeks of administration of melatonin mixed in the diet (5 mg/kg of food) significantly reduced the incidence of gastric ulcers in young pigs. In control and melatonin supplemented animals, significantly higher levels of melatonin were found in the stomach tissues as compared to jejunum, ileum, or colon. Pigs with the most severe ulcers exhibited significantly lower concentrations of melatonin in their stomach tissue and the blood plasma. Pigs fed coarsely ground diet exhibited higher tissue levels of melatonin in the stomach than animals fed a finely ground diet. Coarse diet was also associated with a lower score of gastric ulcers. No relationship between tissue levels of melatonin and the severity of gastric ulcers was found in other segments of the gastrointestinal tract. In the second experiment we determined that there was no significant difference between the gastro-protective effects of 2.5, 5.0, and 10.0 mg of melatonin mixed per 1 kg of food. A coarsely ground diet is hypothesized to have a gastro-protective effect by stimulating the production of melatonin in the stomach tissues. Dietary supplementation of food with melatonin, at threshold levels perhaps lower than 2.5 mg/kg/feed, may significantly reduce the incidence of gastric ulcers in pigs.
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