Weaning piglets often suffer from pneumonia during growth, so in general, antibiotics are used by owners to make piglets grow smoothly. However, antibiotics may be accompanied by many side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort and allergies. The aim of this study was to develop an alternative antibiotic herbal veterinary medicine for alleviating pneumonia in weanling piglets. As observed in the pig ranches, many weanling piglets suffer from the pneumonia and also show high expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) in their respiratory and intestinal tracts. ACE inhibitors have been reported that can decrease pneumonia risk through their main mechanism of action. Thus, we also try to find alternative antibiotic feed additives that can reduce expression of ACE-2 in piglets. We selected the Guizhi Li-Zhong Tang Extract Granules (GLZ) as a natural product for piglets. Then, we compared the serum immunoglobulin levels of piglets with sham, tilmicosin antibiotic (TAB), and GLZ treatments. Our results showed that piglets with GLZ treatment had significantly a higher expression of immunoglobulin A and immunoglobulin G but a lower expression of immunoglobulin E than those with sham and TAB treatments. In addition, piglets with GLZ treatment showed obviously low pneumonia incidence than those with sham and TAB treatments. Similarly, piglets with GLZ treatment showed significantly lower expressions of ACE-2 in their tracheal, bronchial, and lung tissues than those with sham and TAB treatments. GLZ seems to be an alternative ACE inhibitor that can decrease pneumonia risk through inhibiting ACE-2 expression and alleviating allergies in their respiratory systems. Thus, we suggest that GLZ can be an alternative antibiotic feed additive for weaning piglets.
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