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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413275

Research Project: Strategies to Reduce Mycotoxin Contamination in Animal Feed and its Effect in Poultry Production Systems

Location: Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research

Title: Effect of Sub-Clinical Mycotoxin Exposure on Growth Performance and Immune Response in Eimeria-Challenged Pullets

item PANNERU, DEEPENDRA - University Of Georgia
item SHARMA, MILAN KUMAR - University Of Georgia
item SHI, HANYI - University Of Georgia
item NAEINI, HAMIDREZA - University Of Georgia
item CHOPPA, VENKATA SESHA - University Of Georgia
item Shanmugasundaram, Revathi
item KIM, WOO KYUN - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: International Poultry Scientific Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of subclinical mycotoxin exposure on the growth performance and immune cell dynamics in pullets exposed to coccidiosis. Using a 2x2 factorial design, a total of 288 four-week-old Hy-Line W36 pullets were randomly allocated to four treatment groups, each containing six replicated cages with 12 birds. The experimental groups were exposed to either non-contaminated or mycotoxin-contaminated diets and subjected to either a non-challenge or a challenge with Eimeria spp. Mycotoxin-contaminated groups were fed a diet with naturally contaminated corn distillers dried grains with solubles included at the level of 20% in the feed, providing an average of 1.3 mg deoxynivalenol, 56 µg zearalenone, and 0.06 mg fumonisins per kg of feed. Eimeria-challenged group was orally inoculated with sporulated oocysts of 50,000 E. acervulina, 10,000 E.maxima, and 10,000 E. tenella per dose on the second week of the experiment. Growth performance, intestinal permeability, intestinal lesions, and immune cell dynamics were measured at 6 and 14 days Eimeria post-inoculation (DPI). Data were subjected to two-way ANOVA for the main and interaction effects, and the significance level was set at 0.05. Eimeria infection significantly reduced feed intake (FI) by 23% and body weight (BW) by 14% from 1 to 6 DPI, while increasing the intestinal permeability at 5 DPI, coccidial lesions, and the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ T cells in the cecal tonsils at 6 DPI (P<0.05). Mycotoxin exposure further decreased the FI by 3.8% and BW gain by 1%, increasing the coccidial lesions and the CD4+:CD8+ T cells (P < 0.05). From 7 DPI, FI started to recover in the Eimeria-infected group and completely recovered in 14 DPI. However, recovery was less effective with mycotoxin exposure. At 14 DPI, the CD4+ to CD8+ T cell ratios were similar in the non-infected and Eimeria-infected group. However, the pullets exposed to mycotoxins had a higher CD4+ to CD8+ ratio, which was further increased with Eimeria infection. It can be concluded that the presence of mycotoxins in the feed can negatively affect the growth performance and impair the recovery of the pullets infected with coccidiosis.