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Salmonella Typhimurium oral challenge model in mature broilers: Bacteriological, immunological, and growth performance aspects

Marcq, C., Cox, E., Szalo, I.M., Théwis, A., Beckers, Y.
Poultry science 2011 v.90 no.1 pp. 59-67
broiler chickens, poultry diseases, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, salmonellosis, disease models, chicks, males, animal age, optimization, infection, pathogenesis, maternal immunity, inoculum, dosage, oral administration, immune response, mucosal immunity, gastrointestinal system, bacterial colonization, animal growth
In this study, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium challenge models were tested to identify the best conditions under which to perform the experimental infection of 3-wk-old broilers. Such a model would be useful to study the efficiency of therapeutic treatments that could take place at the end of the grow-out period. Salmonella-free chicks were obtained from a breeder flock vaccinated with SALMONELLA: Intestinal maternal immunity was monitored by ELISA analyses at 2, 9, and 16 d of age. Data indicated that protection of maternal origin was not maintained over time and was drastically reduced at 9 d of age (P < 0.01). At 21 d of age, chickens were orally inoculated with Salmonella Typhimurium. The effects of the oral challenge dose (0, 3 x 10³, 3 x 10⁶, and 3 x 10⁹ cfu/bird) and vancomycin pretreatment (no administration or 25 mg/bird) on intestinal immune responses, growth performance, and Salmonella colonization of chickens were investigated. After infection, the mucosal immune response was rapid, with increased (P < 0.01) anti-Salmonella Typhimurium IgA titers measured at 8 d postinfection in intestinal contents. A linear relationship (P < 0.05) existed between specific IgA levels in intestinal and cecal contents and the challenge dose inoculated. None of the challenge protocols caused mortality or clinical symptoms after infection. Nevertheless, the experimental infection induced a significant deterioration of growth performance. The pretreatment with 25 mg of vancomycin at 3 h before Salmonella inoculation was able to establish stable infection rates among the population of 3-wk-old infected chickens. Nevertheless, Salmonella shedding was not stable over the rearing period, and the bacteria seemed to be naturally eliminated from most birds at 22 d postinfection. This natural clearance of the gut, which was related, at least in part, to the intestinal immune response, should limit the usability of the created mature challenge model within 1 to 2 wk after inoculation.