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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 #312541

Title: Dietary sodium selenite on host intestinal and systemic immune response and disease susceptibility to necrotic enteritis in commercial broilers

item XU, SHOUZHEN - Qingdao Agricultural University
item LEE, SUNG-HYEN - Rural Development Administration - Korea
item Lillehoj, Hyun
item BRAVO, DAVID - Pancosma Sa

Submitted to: British Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2014
Publication Date: 1/6/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Xu, S., Lee, S., Lillehoj, H.S., Bravo, D. 2015. Dietary sodium selenite on host intestinal and systemic immune response and disease susceptibility to necrotic enteritis in commercial broilers. British Poultry Science. 56(1):103-112.

Interpretive Summary: There is an increasing interest to develop a nutritional approach to enhance gut health and to decrease negative consequences of intestinal infections due to strict control of antibiotics in animal production. In this paper, ARS scientists collaborated with scientists in China and an industry partner in Switzerland to explore the use of selenium as a dietary prevention strategy to reduce gut damage caused by pathogens found in the intestinal tract. Dietary supplementation of young broiler chickens at birth with selenium showed beneficial effects and reduced ill effects for, two intestinal diseases, coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis. Furthermore, dietary selenium starting from hatch induced the secretion of proteins involved in the innate immune response (cytokines) in response to intestinal parasites. Therefore, this study demonstrates the beneficial effects of dietary selenium as a method to reduce gut damage caused by intestinal parasites and gut bacteria.

Technical Abstract: 1. The present study was conducted to evaluate the supplementary effects of dietary Selenium (Se) given as sodium selenite on host immune response against necrotic enteritis (NE) in commercial broiler chickens. 2. Chickens were fed from hatch with a non-supplemented diet or diets supplemented with different levels of Se (0.25, 0.50 and 1.00 Se mg/kg). To induce NE, broiler chickens were orally infected with Eimeria maxima (E. maxima) at 14 days of age and then with Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) 4 days later using our previously established NE disease model. 3. NE-associated clinical signs and host protective immunity were determined by body weight changes, intestinal lesion scores, and serum antibodies against a-toxin and NetB toxin. The effects of dietary Se on the gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8LITAF, TNFSF15, and iNOS), glutathione peroxidase 7 (GPx7), and avian ß-defensins 6, 8, and 13 (AvBD6, 8, and 13) following NE infection were analyzed in the intestine and spleen. 4. The results showed that dietary supplementation of newly hatched broiler chickens with 0.25 Se mg/kg from hatch significantly reduced (P < 0.05) NE-induced gut lesions compared with infected birds given non-supplemented diet. The levels of serum antibody against NetB toxin in the chickens fed with 0.25 and 0.50 mg/kg Se were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the non-supplemented control group. The transcripts for IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, iNOS, LITAF, and GPx7, as well as AvBD6, 8, and 13 were increased in the intestine and spleen of Se-supplemented groups, whereas transcript for TNFSF15 was decreased in the intestine.