Janeen L. Salak-Johnson

University of Illinois, USA

Title: Manipulating the immune status and stress-responsiveness of pregnant females and their progeny through dietary supplementation


Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson joined the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in November of 1999. Dr. Salak-Johnson hails from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and is considered a transplant resident of Texas as well as a prominent alumna of The Texas Tech University where she garnered her status as a Ph.D. graduate. Her background focuses primarily within the fields of Animal Sciences, Neuroscience and Immunological Sciences which she currently uses to assess the welfare of production swine in various housing milieus and their environment. One of the reasons Dr. Salak-Johnson is highly interested in animal welfare and behavior is because of her knowledge of the many different variables that can affect the health of an animal. She is now in the process of integrating applied sciences into a field of Animal Sciences that uses Observational Studies to assess what needs to be done in order to improve the welfare of housed production animals of which her extensive background in neuroscience and immunology has enabled her to properly assess and implement many changes in the field of Agriculture


Host immune response and other factors that compromise health are important in the pathogenesis and outcomes of infectious disease. Often, findings reported from studies investigating the effects of stress on the immune system are conflicting and difficult to interpret. These discrepancies may partly be explained by types and durations of the stressors, age and physiological status, and the aspect of the immune system being measured—to name a few. We have begun to unravel other biological factors that may affect immune- and stress responsiveness as well as the maternal effects on her progeny. We found that day of gestation is an important biological factor that can impact immune and endocrine statuses more-so than the stressor alone. Our data also indicate that feeding dietary modulators—high fiber or the probiotic S. boulardii—to pregnant pigs, impacts the immune and endocrine statuses of the female and can influence immune status and stress responsiveness of her progeny. Feeding pregnant pigs a high-fiber diet, differentially affects her immune status, resulting in a skewed adaptive immune profile, which may ultimately affect the growth and immune status of her progeny. Feeding pregnant pigs, probiotics may modulate the stress-responsiveness and immune status of the female and progeny during birthing and weaning processes. Taken together, these data imply that the physiological status of the female can impact immune and endocrine status and the stress response and immune status of the dam and her progeny can be changed with the inclusion of dietary supplementation.