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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #279675

Title: Effects of dietary plant-derived phytonutrients on the genome-wide profiles and coccidiosis resistance in the broiler chickens

item Lillehoj, Hyun
item Kim, Duk Kyung
item BRAVO, DAVID - Pancosma Sa
item Lee, Sung

Submitted to: BioMed Central (BMC) Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2012
Publication Date: 4/21/2012
Citation: Lillehoj, H.S., Kim, D., Bravo, D.M., Lee, S.H. 2012. Effects of dietary plant-derived phytonutrients on the genome-wide profiles and coccidiosis resistance in the broiler chickens. BioMed Central (BMC) Proceedings. 5:S34. Available:

Interpretive Summary: The animal agricultural industry is facing many new challenges including global food security, climate changes, and biosecurity. Moreover, there is increasing evidence which shows that the extensive use of antimicrobial compounds in poultry farms may have contributed to increasing drug resistance problems in humans. In view of rising concerns on antibiotics and emerging diseases, there is an increasing interest for developing an alternative control strategy to enhance animal health and to reduce the use of antimicrobials. One promising new possibility to achieve this goal is the use of natural foods and herbal products to enhance feed efficiency, gut health, and innate immunity. In this paper, ARS scientists in collaboration with Pancosma company report new findings on developing alternative strategies to control infectious diseases using natural plant-derived phytochemicals. Clear scientific evidence was discovered that showed thebeneficial effects of feeding young poultry with three immunologically active phytochemicals (carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and Capsicum oleoresin), thus providing the basis for developing safe natural dietary strategies for infectious diseases control in poultry. This information will benefit scientists in the poultry industry and food companies.

Technical Abstract: The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary plant-derived phytonutrients, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and Capsicum oleoresin, on the translational regulation of genes associated with immunology, physiology and metabolism using high-throughput microarray analysis and in vivo disease challenge model of avian coccidiosis. In this study, we used nutrigenomics technology to investigate the molecular and genetic mechanisms of dietary modulation of host innate immunity and metabolism by three phytonutrients. To validate their immunomodulatory effects in a disease model, young broiler chickens fed a standard diet supplemented with three phytochemicals (carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde, and Capsicum oleoresin) from one day post-hatch were orally challenged with E. acervulina. The body weight gain and fecal oocyst production were used to evaluate coccidiosis disease parameters. Analysis of global gene expression profiles of intestinal tissues from phytonutrient-fed birds indicated that Capsicum oleoresin induced the most gene changes compared to the control group where many of these genes were associated with those of metabolism and immunity. The most reliable network induced by dietary cinnamaldehyde treatment was related with the functions of antigen presentation, humoral immune response, and inflammatory disease. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with these phytonutrients significantly protected broiler chickens against live coccidiosis challenge infection based on body weight and parasite fecundity. The results of this study provide clear evidence to support the idea that plant-derived phytochemicals possess immune-enhancing properties in chickens and these new findings create a new possibility to develop effective drug-free alternative strategies for disease control for poultry infectious diseases.