Weaning is associated with increased occurrence of infections and diseases in piglets. Recent findings indicate that weaning induces mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress conditions that more severely impact smaller piglets. The objective of this study was to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying these physiological consequences and the relation with systemic inflammatory status in both normal and low birth weight (NBW and LBW) piglets throughout the peri-weaning period. To conduct the study, 30 sows were inseminated, and specific piglets from their litters were assigned to one of two experimental groups: NBW (n = 60, 1.73 ± 0.01 kg,) and LBW piglets weighing less than 1.2 kg (n = 60, 1.01 ± 0.01 kg). Then, 10 piglets from each group were selected at 14, 21 (weaning), 23, 25, 29 and 35 days of age to collect organ and plasma samples. Specific porcine RT.sup.2 Profiler[TM] PCR Arrays related to mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis processes were first used to target genes that are modulated after weaning in NBW piglets (d 23 and d 35 vs. d 14). Expression of selected genes was evaluated by quantitative PCR. These analyses revealed that expression of inflammatory genes CXCL10 and CCL19 increased after weaning in intestinal mucosa, while expression of genes encoding subunits of the mitochondrial respiratory chain was downregulated in liver and kidney of both groups. Interestingly, major modulators of mitophagy (BNIP3), cell survival (BCL2A1) and antioxidant defense system (TXNRD2, GPx3, HMOX1) were found to be highly expressed in NBW piglets. The systemic levels of TNF-[alpha] and IL1-[beta] significantly increased following weaning and were higher in NBW piglets. These results provide novel information about the molecular origin of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress observed in weaned piglets and suggest that clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria, antioxidant defenses and inflammatory response are compromised in LBW piglets.