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Selection for pro-inflammatory mediators yields chickens with increased resistance against Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis

Christina L. Swaggerty, Igal Y. Pevzner, Michael H. Kogut
Poultry science 2014 v.93 no.3 pp. 535-544
sires, reciprocal crosses, immunity, phenotype, Salmonella Enteritidis, gene expression, spleen, disease resistance, heterophils, messenger RNA, feed conversion, flocks, breast meat, progeny, chickens, liver, inflammation, interleukin-6, food pathogens, foodborne illness, poultry industry
Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illness and can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated poultry; therefore, increasing a flock's natural resistance to Salmonella could improve food safety. Previously, we characterized the heterophil-mediated innate immune response of 2 parental broiler lines and F₁ reciprocal crosses and showed that increased heterophil function and expression of pro-inflammatory mediators corresponds with increased resistance against diverse pathogens. A preliminary selection trial showed that individual sires had varying inherent levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and selection based on a high or low phenotype was passed onto progeny. Based on these results, we hypothesized selection of broilers for higher levels of the pro-inflammatory mediators IL-6, CXCLi2, and CCLi2 would produce progeny with increased resistance against Salmonella Enteritidis. Peripheral blood leukocytes were isolated from 75 commercial broiler sires, screened, and 10 naturally high and low expressing sires were selected and mated to randomly selected dams to produce the first generation of “high” and “low” progeny. The mRNA expression of CXCLi2 and CCLi2 were significantly (P ≤ 0.02) higher in the high progeny and were more resistant to liver and spleen organ invasion by Salmonella Enteritidis compared with low progeny. Production of the second generation yielded progeny that had differences (P ≤ 0.03) in all 3 mediators and further improved resistance against Salmonella Enteritidis. Feed conversion ratio and percent breast meat yield were calculated and were equal, whereas the high birds weighed slightly, but significantly, less than the low birds. These data clearly demonstrate that selection based on a higher phenotype of key pro-inflammatory mediators is a novel means to produce broilers that are naturally more resistant to Salmonella, one of the most important foodborne pathogens affecting the poultry industry.