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The effect of heat stress on intestinal integrity and Salmonella invasion in broiler birds

Alhenaky, Alhanof, Abdelqader, Anas, Abuajamieh, Mohannad, Al-Fataftah, Abdur-Rahman
Journal of thermal biology 2017 v.70 pp. 9-14
Salmonella, bacteria, bacterial toxins, blood serum, body weight, broiler chickens, corticosterone, endotoxins, environmental factors, feed conversion, feed intake, heat stress, immune response, interleukin-2, intestinal mucosa, lipopolysaccharides, liver, meat, mortality, pathogens, permeability, temperature, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
The intestinal mucosa works as a barrier to protect the internal environment of the animal from bacteria and bacterial toxins found in the gut lumen. Heat stress may harm this function. Therefore, we designed the current experiment to investigate the effect of heat stress on intestinal integrity, physiological and immunological responses and Salmonella invasion in broiler chickens. At 26 days of age, 72 birds were randomly distributed into 3 treatments, with 8 replicates per treatment and 3 birds per replicate. The three treatments were control treatment; kept at thermoneutral environmental conditions (20 ± 2°C), chronic heat stress treatment (exposed to 30 ± 2°C; 24h/day) and acute heat stress treatment (exposed to 35 ±2°C from 09:00 to 13:00 and kept at 20 ± 1°C from 13:00 to 09:00). The heat stress exposure was conducted for 10 successive days. Compared with the control treatment, birds subject to chronic and acute heat stress had reduced (P < 0.05) body weight and body gain and increased (P < 0.05) feed conversion ratio. However, feed intake and mortality rate were only increased (P < 0.05) in the acute heat stress treatment. Rectal temperature and Δ rectal temperature (°C/h) increased (P < 0.05) sharply during the first 2 days of exposure followed by gradual decreases until a plateau was achieved. Heat-stressed birds had increased (P < 0.05) serum concentrations of corticosterone, endotoxin lipopolysaccharide and the systemic inflammatory cytokine: TNF-α and IL-2, as well as a higher (P < 0.05) prevalence of Salmonella spp. in meat and livers, as compared with control treatment. It can be concluded that heat stress impaired intestinal integrity which resulted in increased intestinal permeability to endotoxin, translocation of intestinal pathogens (Salmonella spp.) and serum inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, avoiding thermal dysfunction of intestinal barrier is a significant factor in maintaining welfare, immune status and meat safety of broiler birds.