Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347335

Research Project: Non-antibiotic Strategies to Control Enteric Diseases of Poultry

Location: Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory

Title: Dietary supplementation of allium hookeri improves intestinal immune response against necrotic enteritis in young broiler chickens

item LEE, YOUNGSUB - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item LEE, SUNG-HYEN - Jeollabuk-Do Center
item GADDE, UHJVALA - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item OH, SUNGTAEK - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item LEE, SUNG-JIN - Kangwon National University
item Lillehoj, Hyun

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2018
Publication Date: 6/1/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Lee, Y., Lee, S., Gadde, U., Oh, S., Lee, S., Lillehoj, H.S. 2021. Dietary supplementation of allium hookeri improves intestinal immune response against necrotic enteritis in young broiler chickens. Poultry Science.

Interpretive Summary: Antibiotics are commonly used in animal industry to promote growth and prevent disease and pathogen, as well as to treat sick animals. However, concerns about increasing antibiotic resistance led to bans on antibiotics for growth promotion (AGPs). In this paper, ARS scientists report a new finding that Allium hookeri (AH), a Chinese plant which contains abundant flavonoids and phenols confers beneficial effects on poultry health. They showed that dietary feeding of Allium hookeri to newly hatched chickens alleviated intestinal damages caused by necrotic enteritis (NE), which is an intestinal infection caused by Clostridium perfringens and costs poultry industry more than $ 6 billion annual losses. This finding suggest a potential use of Allium hookeri to enhance gut health and reduce the use of antibiotics.

Technical Abstract: Three hundred birds (d1 of age) were randomly assigned to 6 groups (n =50 birds/treatment) and fed with basal diet (control) or basal diet supplemented with AH root (1 or 3 %). At day14, half birds in each group were orally challenged with E. maxima 41A (1 × 104/chicken), followed by C. perfringens infection (1 × 109 CFU/chicken) at day18. NE-associated clinical signs and intestinal immune response were assessed by average body weight gain, lesion score and oocyst shedding on day?. The effect of dietary supplementation AH on transcript levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, tight junction and mucin protein in jejunum were quantified by qRT-PCR. At day 20, birds fed with diet supplemented with 3 % of AH significantly weighed more than control group. NE challenge significantly reduced average body weight gain but, there was no significant effect of diet × NE challenge interaction on the average body weight gain. Among the NE challenged groups, gut lesion score and oocyst shedding were significantly decreased in birds given AH (1 or 3 %) compared to basal diet group. Correlation between diet effect and NE infection was shown in interleukin (IL)-17a, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). And up-regulated transcript levels of cytokines IL-8, IL-17a, iNOS, and LITAF by NE challenge was significantly reduced by AH (1 or 3 %) supplementation. Down-regulated expression levels of tight junction (TJ) proteins (junctional adhesion molecule 2 (JAM2) and occludin) and intestinal mucin 2 (MUC2) by NE challenge was reversed by AH (1 or 3 %) supplementation. All TJ proteins (JAM2, ZO1, Ocluddin and MUC2) and MUC2 in jejunum showed significant effect in Diet × NE challenge interaction. These finding demonstrate that dietary supplementation of AH could be beneficially used to improve chicken healthduring NE disease challenge or other poultry diseases.