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The effects of tributyrin supplementation on weight gain and intestinal gene expression in broiler chickens during Eimeria maxima-induced coccidiosis

Victoria L. Hansen, Stanislaw Kahl, Monika Proszkowiec-Weglarz, Stephanie C. Jiménez, Stefan F.C. Vaessen, Lori L. Schreier, Mark C. Jenkins, Beverly Russell, Katarzyna B. Miska
Poultry science 2021 v.100 no.4 pp. 100984
absorption barrier, body weight changes, coccidiosis, diet, digestion, feed additives, feed conversion, feed intake, gene expression, ileum, immunity, mechanism of action, oocysts, tight junctions, tributyrin, weight gain
Butyrate is a feed additive that has been shown to have antibacterial properties and improve gut health in broilers. Here, we examined the performance and gene expression changes in the ileum of tributyrin–supplemented broilers infected with coccidia. Ninety-six, Ross 708 broilers were fed either a control corn–soybean–based diet (−BE) or a diet supplemented with 0.25% (w/w) tributyrin (+BE). Birds were further divided into groups that were inoculated with Eimeria maxima oocysts (EM) or sham-inoculated (C) on day 21 posthatch. At 7 d postinfection (7 d PI), the peak of pathology in E. maxima infection, tributyrin-supplemented birds had significantly improved feed conversion ratios (FCR, P < 0.05) and body weight gain (BWG, P < 0.05) compared with -BE-infected birds, despite both groups having similar feed intake (FI, P > 0.05). However, at 10 d post-infection (10 d PI) no significant effects of feed type or infection were observed. Gene expression in the ileum was examined for insights into possible effects of infection and tributyrin supplementation on genes encoding proteins related to immunity, digestion, and gut barrier integrity. Among immune-related genes examined, IL-1B and LEAP2 were only significantly affected at 7 d PI. Transcription of genes related to digestion (APN, MCT1, FABP2, and MUC2) were primarily influenced by infection at 7 d PI and tributyrin supplementation (FABP2 and MUC2) at 10 d PI. With exception of ZO1, tight junction genes were affected by either infection or feed type at 7 d PI. At 10 d PI, only CLDN1 was not affected by either infection or feed type. Overall tributyrin shows promise as a supplement to improve performance during coccidiosis in broiler chickens; however, its effect on gene expression and mode of action requires further research.