Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research
Project Number: 6022-32420-001-018-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2019
End Date: Jul 31, 2024
1. Investigate the neuroendocrine-immune crosstalk that is central to host-microbiome interactions as a preharvest strategic target in the development of novel antibiotic-alternatives to prevent and control the development of inflammation and infection in poultry. 2. Understand how nutrition affects the development of enteric neuronal architecture from early life and onwards with focus on how gut innervation influences colonization by foodborne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter via bidirectional host-microbe neurochemical communication. 3. Delineate the mechanism(s) of action of microbiota-gut-brain axis-based antibiotic alternatives using cutting-edge multi-omics approaches.
USDA-ARS and University of Arkansas are both interested in the development of antibiotic alternatives to reduce foodborne pathogens for the poultry industry. The enteric pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter colonize the poultry gut and are significant agents of human foodborne illness. Neuroendocrine-immune communication between microbe and host consistently occurs throughout stages of life within the gut and is recognized to play a key role in mediating enteric infection. Yet, this bi-directional dynamic has not been extensively examined in poultry and therefore represents a promising novel mechanism by which new antibiotic alternative strategies can be developed to reduce Salmonella, Campylobacter, and other enteric pathogens and thus, improve the safety of poultry products and reduce human foodborne illness. Our research team is conducting pioneering studies into bird neurobiology to map the neurochemical profile of different regions of the bird gut, liver, and other tissues. This is important as it will likely help explain why enteric pathogens preferentially infect specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract. Little is known, however, regarding how neurochemical crosstalk between the poultry enteric nervous system and the gut bacteria that may be strategically manipulated to protect the bird from infection by enteric pathogens. As sources of stress are of major concern for poultry welfare, it is critical to recognize that stress can influence gut neuronal structure and cause the release of neurochemicals into the gut which can then mediate pathogen colonization and infection. Likewise, early-life nutrition can influence neural development in the gut and feed components such as amino acids serve as precursors for the synthesis of neurochemicals found in the gut. Hence, we will investigate how environmental stimuli and modern poultry nutrition influence enteric pathogen colonization and infection via neurochemical crosstalk and gut neuronal architecture. To achieve our goal we will use a range of cutting-edge analytical techniques including ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography to quantitatively assess neurochemical changes, enteric neuronal immunohistochemistry to visualize the enteric nervous system, tandem mass spectrometry to determine relevant proteomic changes, and Ussing chamber to assess electrophysiological and permeability changes in gut tissues. It is anticipated that environmental and nutritional factors will be identified that will function as novel non-antibiotic mediated mechanisms that will shield the bird from infection and colonization by pathogens to ultimately reduce human foodborne infections. In addition, reduction of Salmonella infection in poultry will be of significant value to the industry as it will aid in preventing economic losses.