Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2009
Publication Date: 10/1/2009
Citation: Lee, S.H., Lillehoj, H.S., Hong, Y., Cho, S., Park, D., Park, H., Chun, H. 2009. Protective effects of dietary Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) on experimental coccidiosis. Journal of Poultry Science. 46:155-162. Interpretive Summary: Development of safe and effective alternative methods is becoming a priority for poultry industry due to increasing concerns about increasing drug-resistance of poultry pathogens. Although drugs have been traditionally used to control many diseases of poultry, the results of recent ARS study indicate a potential non-drug application of dietary strategy against the intestinal protozoan parasites. In this report, ARS scientists in collaboration with scientists at RDA in South Korea demonstrate dietary immunomodulation strategies to enhance gut innate immunity in poultry. Increasing evidence show that the dietary enhancements of innate immunity in humans and animals using naturally occurring dietary substances is playing a role in clinical medicine. In this study, scientists demonstrate that safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), which belongs to the Compositae family, and has historically been used as a herbal medicine against infectious diseases and cancers, enhance disease resistance against avian coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is caused by several species of Eimeria and is an important disease in poultry production. In commercial settings, annual economic losses up to $3 billion have been estimated due to Eimeria infections. Avian coccidiosis has traditionally been controlled by chemoprophylaxis using anticoccidial synthetic products or antibiotic ionophores. However, with increasing concerns over the emergence of drug-resistant Eimeria strains, alternative control methods are needed. The results of this study provide alternative control strategy against avian coccidiosis using non-drug method.
Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of the dietary safflower leaf on protective immunity against coccidiosis, the most economically important parasitic disease in poultry. White Leghorn chicks were fed a standard diet with or without the safflower leaf, and were either uninfected or orally infected with 5,000 sporulated oocysts of Eimeria acervulina. The chicks’ protective immunity was assessed by body weight gain, fecal oocyst shedding, splenic lymphocytes proliferation, T lymphocyte subpopulations, and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression. The effect of the safflower on coccidiosis was dependant on the dose of the supplement used in this study. The 0.1% safflower-supplemented and parasite-infected chickens exhibited body weight gains, identical to those of uninfected controls, and significantly reduced fecal oocyst shedding, compared to animals that were given a non-supplemented standard diet. Furthermore, there were increased splenic lymphocytes proliferation as well as greater percentages of CD4+ T cells; however, decreased CD8+ cells were observed in animals fed a 0.1% safflower-supplemented diet. Finally, IFN-', IL-8, IL-15, and IL-17 transcripts in the 0.1% safflower-supplemented group were higher than the non-supplemented controls. These results indicate that safflower leaf, when given as a dietary supplement, possesses immunity enhancing properties and protective immunity improvement against experimental coccidiosis.