Submitted to: Clinical Immunology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2008
Publication Date: 9/15/2008
Citation: Lee, S., Lillehoj, H.S., Park, D., Hong, Y.H., Cho, S., Chun, H., Park, H., Lillehoj, E.P. 2008. Immunomodulatory properties of dietary plum on coccidiosis. Clinical Immunology. 31:389-402. Interpretive Summary: Avian coccidiosis is economically the most important parasitic disease of the poultry industry and is caused by intestinal infection with Eimeria spp. Although drugs have been used as the main method for coccidiosis control, there is increasing interest in the development of alternative strategies of disease prevention due to the escalating incidence of drug resistant coccidia strains in the field. Recent studies in humans, has shown that the consumption of fruit juices stimulate immune cell functions, and phenolic and flavonoid compounds from mulberry, strawberry, and red onion stimulated splenocyte proliferation. Increasing evidence that particular dietary supplementations have the ability to influence host inflammatory responses and enhance protective immunity against various infectious microorganisms prompted us to investigate the role of traditional medicinal plants on avian coccidiosis. In this report, ARS scientists report new findings on the immunomodulatory effects of dietary plum on avian coccidiosis. This work was carried out in collaboration with scientists at the National Institutes of Rural Development in Korea and University of Maryland. The results demonstrate the ability of dietary plum extract to enhance protective immunity against Eimeria infections. These promising results provide a rational basis for further investigation of the effects of other types of dietary products on the immune response to avian pathogens. Oriental plum (Prunus salicina) is a long-established medicinal fruit which has been extensively used in Korea and other Asian countries to enhance immunity and treat tumors in humans. Further studies on the underlying mechanisms of its immunoenhancing effects need to be investigated to better apply this information to the development of novel control method for poultry pathogens by private industry.
Technical Abstract: The current study was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation with a lyophilized powder made from plums (P) on host protective immune responses against avian coccidiosis, the most economically important parasitic disease of poultry. One-day-old White Leghorn chickens were fed from the time of hatch with a standard diet either without P (control and P 0 groups) or supplemented with P at 0.5% (P 0.5) or 1.0% (P 1.0) of the diet. Animals in the P 0, P 0.5, and P 1.0 groups were orally challenged with 5,000 sporulated oocysts of Eimeria acervulina at day 12 post-hatch, while control animals were uninfected. Dietary supplementation of P significantly increased body weight gain, reduced fecal oocyst shedding, and increased the levels of mRNAs for interferon-' and interleukin-15 in the P 1.0 group at 10 days post-infection compared with the P 0 group. Furthermore, chickens fed either the P 0.5 or P 1.0 diets exhibited significantly greater spleen cell proliferation compared with the non-plum P 0 group. These results indicate that plum possesses immune enhancing properties, and that feeding chickens a plum-supplemented diet augments protective immunity against coccidiosis.