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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #207859

Title: Immunomodulatory effect of dietary Safflower leaf on coccidiosis

item Lee, Sung Eun
item Lillehoj, Hyun
item Heckert, Robert

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2007
Publication Date: 11/20/2007
Citation: Lee, S., Lillehoj, H.S., Heckert, R.A., Cho, S., Hong, Y.H., Park, D., Lillehoj, E.P., Chun, H., Park, H. 2007. Immunomodulatory effect of dietary Safflower leaf on coccidiosis. 18:715-724.

Interpretive Summary: Coccidiosis is caused by several species of Eimeria and is an important disease in poultry production, leading to reduced growth and sometimes death in chickens, incurring economic losses up to $1 billon annually. Avian coccidiosis has traditionally been controlled by chemoprophylaxis using anticoccidial synthetic products or antibiotic ionophores, but due to the appearance of drug-resistant Eimeria, alternative control methods are needed. In this context, development of dietary immunoenhancement strategy using plant derived components mixed in standard feed may represents a safe and economical control strategy against enteric pathogens of poultry including coccidiosis. In this paper, ARS scientists in collaboration with the scientists at the National Rural Resources Development Institte in Korea investigated the effect of dietary treatment of broiler chickens with safflower leaf. The results showed improved body weights and enhanced disease resistance against coccidiosis in broilers chicken fed safflower-supplemented diet. This study provides important background information on the new method to enhance poultry health using plant components and should lead to a non-chemical way to control parasites and other pathogens affecting the gut for industry.

Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate the dietary effect of safflower leaf on protective immunity against coccidiosis, the most economically important parasitic disease in poultry. White Leghorn chicks were fed a standard diet without or with safflower leaf, the animals were uninfected or orally infected with 5,000 sporulated oocysts of Eimeria acervulina and at 12 days post-hatching, and protective immunity assessed by body weight gain, fecal oocyst shedding, splenocyte proliferation, T lymphocyte subpopulations, and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression. Dietary supplementation with safflower leaf reversed body weight loss and reduced fecal oocyst shedding in infected animals, compared with animals given a standard diet. Furthermore, increased splenocyte proliferation and a greater percentage of CD4+ T cells, but decreased CD8+ and ãä-TCR+ T cells, were observed in animals fed safflower-supplemented diets. Levels of mRNAs for IFN-ã, IL-8, IL-15, and IL-17 in the safflower-supplemented groups were increased at 10 days post-infection compared with the non-supplemented controls. These results indicate that safflower leaf possesses immune enhancing properties and effectively improves protective immunity against coccidiosis when given as a dietary supplement.