Numerous studies on beneficial microbes to the digestive microbial flora of chickens have been made (this bacterial population is called the microbiota). But those studies have usually focused on the impact on the composition of the microbial flora (microbiota) and effectiveness compared to antibiotic used as growth enhancers.
Furthermore, age of the chicken is very important in its ability to manage an infection. One day old chickens have an immature immune system and therefore depend primarily first on their intestinal architectural integrity acting as a barrier (epithelial cellular wall), second on the natural protective jelly secreted in the intestine (the mucus layer) and finally on the normal bacterial microbiota. However, the microbiota of newly hatched chickens is in constant evolution to develop into one with a great microbial diversity, therefore, trying to protect such young chicken by focusing on managing this microbiota is quite a gambit. Since a good herd management at the early stage of the chickens is a key in maintaining a healthy herd, a Canada-Chinese team decided to study the effect of a promising probiotic on the epithelial wall integrity of newly hatched chickens. Remind that a probiotic is a bacterium able to trigger a protective microbiota, but in the study, it has been be tested for its impact on the chicken intestine wall called an epithelium.
Professor Xin Zhao from McGill, an animal physiology expert, collaborated with Chinese colleagues, Lihong Wang from Northwest A&F University and Long Li from YangLing Vocational & Technical College, and examined the impact of a new probiotic on the intestinal structure of newly hatch chickens. Indeed the same team had previously identified a promising new probiotic. Therefore, the collaborators hypothesized that this probiotic could restore the intestinal barrier disrupted by Salmonella infection. The team analysed the gut permeability in the presence or absence of Salmonella infection. They compared the intestinal epithelium structure, the immune response, the presence of Salmonella in liver, spleen and ceca in 1 day old chickens treated with the probiotic, or challenged with Salmonella, or exposed to both, or unexposed (negative control).
This study highlighted that Salmonella damages the intestine cellular barrier increasing its permeability and therefore inducing a second level of degradation: the inflammation of the intestinal wall. The probiotic tested decreased Salmonella colonization of the chicken intestine. Indeed, the intestinal epithelium was strengthen in the presence of the probiotic since less inflammation caused by Salmonella was observed and the intestinal cellular barrier was tighter therefore stronger. Those findings are quite encouraging and present a new target for developing innovative feed additives.
Source: Lactobacillus plantarum Restores Intestinal Permeability Disrupted by Salmonella Infection in Newlyhatched Chicks. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2018) 8:2229. Lihong Wang, Long Li, Yan Lv, Qiaoling Chen, Junchang Feng & Xin Zhao.