Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #302023

Title: Arginine and vitamin E improve the immune response after a Salmonella challenge in broiler chicks

item LIU, XIAO - Texas A&M University
item Byrd Ii, James - Allen
item FARNELL, MORGAN - Texas A&M University
item RUIZ-FERIA, C - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2013
Publication Date: 4/4/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Liu, X., Byrd II, J.A., Farnell, M.B., Ruiz-Feria, C.A. 2014. Arginine and vitamin E improve the immune response after a Salmonella challenge in broiler chicks. Poultry Science. 93:882-890.

Interpretive Summary: Two studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of arginine, vitamin E, and mannanoligosaccharide on gastrointestinal health and clearance of the food-poisoning bacteria, Salmonella, in chickens. Arginine is an amino acid found in the protein in plants and animals. Mannanoligosaccharide is a nutritional supplement that has been shown to improve gastrointestinal health in humans and is a product taken from yeast. Day-of-hatch chicks were given one or more of the compounds arginine, vitamin E, and mannanoligosaccharide. These chicks were given Salmonella by mouth and were evaluated five to nine days later for the number of Salmonella found in each chick’s gastrointestinal tract. White blood cells were evaluated for their responses to Salmonella in birds fed the different nutritional supplements. Results suggest that birds fed vitamin E and arginine improved the immune response to the food-poisoning bacteria, Salmonella, and may improve resistance to other bacteria found in the chicken house.

Technical Abstract: Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of arginine (ARG), vitamin E (VE), and mannanoligosaccharide (MOS) on the immune response and clearance of Salmonella in broiler chickens. In each experiment, chicks were randomly distributed into 4 groups: antibiotic-free diet (negative control, CTL-); antibiotic-supplemented diet (positive control, CTL+); antibiotic-free diet plus ARG and VE (AVE); or antibiotic-free diet plus ARG, VE, and MOS (AVM). Birds were orally challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium at d 7 (Exp. 1) or at d 3 (Exp. 2). Heterophil- (HOB) and monocyte- (MOB) oxidative burst and lymphocyte proliferation (LPR), antibody titers, and Salmonella content in the ceca were measured at several intervals post-infection (PI). In Exp. 1, both AVM and AVE decreased HOB compared with the controls 5 and 9 d PI, but increased LPR 9 d PI. In the same experiment, birds fed the AVE diet had higher MOB than birds fed CTL+ or the AVM diet at 7 d PI whereas 9 d PI birds fed the AVM diet had the highest MOB. In Exp. 2, birds fed the AVE diet had higher MOB, HOB, and LPR than birds in the other treatments 7 and 14 d PI, except at 7 d PI, when MOB was not different among treatments. Birds fed the AVM diet had the highest IgA antibody titer, as well as a higher IgM antibody titer than the CTL+ birds. In Exp. 1, ST content in the ceca was lower in birds fed the AVM diet compared with birds fed the CTL- diet 3 d PI, but later on (10 and 17 d PI), and in Exp. 2 (7, 14, and 21 d PI), ST concentrations were not different among treatments. Thus, ARG and VE improved immune response after an ST challenge in young chicks, and although they did not reduce ST concentrations in the ceca, they may improve bacterial resistance against other pathogens in commercial growing conditions.