Lossec, G., C. Duchamp, Y. Lebreton and P. Herpin-. Postnatal changes in regional blood flow during cold-induced shivering in sow-reared piglets. CANADIAN-JOURNAL-OF-PHYSIOLOGY-AND-PHARMACOLOGY. 77:414-421, 1999.

To determine whether newborn pigs are able to display adequate cardiovascular adjustments favouring shivering thermogenesis in skeletal muscles soon after birth, regional blood flow and fractional distribution of cardiac output were determined in 1-day-old (n = 6) and 5-day-old (n = 6) conscious piglets at thermal neutrality and during cold exposure, using coloured microspheres. Five-day-old piglets stayed with the sow before the experiment. The cold challenge was designed to induce a similar increase (similar to+90%) in heat production sit both ages. Skeletal muscle blood flow increased with both age (p < 0.05) and cold exposure (p < 0.001), with the effect of cold being more pronounced in 5-day-old piglets than in 1-day-old piglets (+60%, p < 0.05). The difference between individual muscles increased with age, with fractional blood flow being 41% higher in rhomboideus than in longissimus thoracis muscle during cold exposure in 5-day-old piglets (p < 0.05). Cardiac output was similar at both ages and increased by 23% in the cold (p < 0.001). At 1 day of age, there was no redistribution of cardiac output among the internal organs during the cold challenge, while at 5 days of age, the increase in muscle fractional blood flow was associated with a reduction (p < 0.05) in the fraction of cardiac output reaching the skin (-24%), the small intestine (-21%), and the liver (-20%). In conclusion, these results suggest that there is a rapid postnatal improvement of cardiovascular adjustments favouring blood perfusion and probably heat production during cold-induced shivering in the most oxidative muscles studied. This cardiovascular response may play a role in the postnatal enhancement of thermoregulation in piglets.