Transcriptional profiles of host-pathogen responses to necrotic enteritis and differential regulation of immune genes in two inbreed chicken lines showing disparate disease susceptibility.
ABSTRACT: Necrotic enteritis (NE) is an important intestinal infectious disease of commercial poultry flocks caused by Clostridium perfringens. Using an experimental model of NE involving co-infection with C. perfringens and Eimeria maxima, transcriptome profiling and functional genomics approaches were applied to identify the genetic mechanisms that might regulate the host response to this disease. Microarray hybridization identified 1,049 transcripts whose levels were altered (601 increased, 448 decreased) in intestinal lymphocytes from C. perfringens/E. maxima co-infected Ross chickens compared with uninfected controls. Five biological functions, all related to host immunity and inflammation, and 11 pathways were identified from this dataset. To further elucidate the role of host genetics in NE susceptibility, two inbred chicken lines, ADOL line 6 and line 7 which share an identical B2 major histocompatibility complex haplotype but differ in their susceptibility to virus infection, were compared for clinical symptoms and the expression levels of a panel of immune-related genes during experimental NE. Line 6 chickens were more susceptible to development of experimental NE compared with line 7, as revealed by decreased body weight gain and increased E. maxima oocyst shedding. Of 21 immune-related genes examined, 15 were increased in C. perfringens/E. maxima co-infected line 6 vs. line 7 chickens. These results suggest that immune pathways are activated in response to experimental NE infection and that genetic determinants outside of the chicken B complex influence resistance to this disease.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The effects of vaccinating 18-day-old chicken embryos with the combination of recombinant Eimeria profilin plus Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) NetB proteins mixed in the Montanide IMS adjuvant on the chicken immune response to necrotic enteritis (NE) were investigated using an Eimeria maxima (E. maxima)/C. perfringens co-infection NE disease model that we previously developed. METHODS:Eighteen-day-old broiler embryos were injected with 100 ?L of phosphate-buffered saline, profilin, profilin plus necrotic enteritis B-like (NetB), profilin plus NetB/Montanide adjuvant (IMS 106), and profilin plus Net-B/Montanide adjuvant (IMS 101). After post-hatch birds were challenged with our NE experimental disease model, body weights, intestinal lesions, serum antibody levels to NetB, and proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine mRNA levels in intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes were measured. RESULTS:Chickens in ovo vaccinated with recombinant profilin plus NetB proteins/IMS106 and recombinant profilin plus NetB proteins/IMS101 showed significantly increased body weight gains and reduced gut damages compared with the profilin-only group, respectively. Greater antibody response to NetB toxin were observed in the profilin plus NetB/IMS 106, and profilin plus NetB/IMS 101 groups compared with the other three vaccine/adjuvant groups. Finally, diminished levels of transcripts encoding for proinflammatory cytokines such as lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-? factor, tumor necrosis factor superfamily 15, and interleukin-8 were observed in the intestinal lymphocytes of chickens in ovo injected with profilin plus NetB toxin in combination with IMS 106, and profilin plus NetB toxin in combination with IMS 101 compared with profilin protein alone bird. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that the Montanide IMS adjuvants potentiate host immunity to experimentally-induced avian NE when administered in ovo in conjunction with the profilin and NetB proteins, and may reduce disease pathology by attenuating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines implicated in disease pathogenesis.
Project description:Necrotic enteritis (NE) is a poultry disease caused by Clostridium perfringens and characterized by severe intestinal necrosis. The incidence of avian NE has been progressively increasing following the removal of antibiotics from poultry feed. We evaluated the effect of diets supplemented with the thermally-processed clays, calcium montmorillonite (CaMM) on clinical signs, immunopathology, and cytokine responses in broiler chickens using an experimental model of NE consisting of co-infection with Eimeria maxima and C. perfringens. In Trial 1, Ross/Ross chickens were fed from hatch with a normal basal diet or a CaMM-supplemented diet with or without a fermentable fiber, an organic acid, and/or a plant extract, and co-infected with E. maxima and C. perfringens under conditions simulating clinical infection in the field. Chickens fed a diet supplemented with CaMM plus a fermentable fiber and an organic acid had increased body weight gain, reduced gut lesions, and increased serum antibody levels to C. perfringens ?-toxin and NetB toxin compared with chickens fed the basal diet alone. Levels of transcripts for interleukin-1? (IL-1?), IL-6, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and tumor necrosis factor-? superfamily-15 were significantly altered in the intestine and spleen of CaMM-supplemented chickens compared with unsupplemented controls (p<0.05). In Trial 2, Cobb/Cobb chickens were fed an unsupplemented diet or a diet supplemented with CaMM or Varium®, each with a fermentable fiber and an organic acid, and co-infected with E. maxima and C. perfringens under subclinical infection conditions. Compared with unsupplemented controls, broilers fed with CaMM plus a fermentable fiber and an organic acid had increased body weight gain, and reduced feed conversion ratio, mortality, and intestinal lesions, compared with chickens fed an unsupplemented diet (p<0.05). Dietary supplementation of broiler chickens with CaMM plus a fermentable fiber and an organic acid might be useful to control avian NE in the field.
Project description:The study aimed to compare the necrotic enteritis (NE)-induced transcriptome differences between the spleens of Marek's disease resistant chicken line 6.3 and susceptible line 7.2 co-infected with Eimeria maxima/Clostridium perfringens using RNA-Seq. Total RNA from the spleens of two chicken lines were used to make libraries, generating 42,736,296 and 42,617,720 usable reads, which were assembled into groups of 29,897 and 29,833 mRNA genes, respectively. The transcriptome changes were investigated using the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) package, which indicated 3,255, 2,468 and 2,234 DEGs of line 6.3, line 7.2, and comparison between two lines, respectively (fold change ?2, p<0.01). The transcription levels of 14 genes identified were further examined using qRT-PCR. The results of qRT-PCR were consistent with the RNA-seq data. All of the DEGs were analysed using gene ontology terms, the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database and the DEGs in each term were found to be more highly expressed in line 6.3 than in line 7.2. RNA-seq analysis indicated 139 immune related genes, 44 CD molecular genes and 150 cytokines genes which were differentially expressed among chicken lines 6.3 and 7.2 (fold change ?2, p<0.01). Novel mRNA analysis indicated 15,518 novel genes, for which the expression was shown to be higher in line 6.3 than in line 7.2 including some immune-related targets. These findings will help to understand host-pathogen interaction in the spleen and elucidate the mechanism of host genetic control of NE, and provide basis for future studies that can lead to the development of marker-based selection of highly disease-resistant chickens.
Project description:For over 30 years a phospholipase C enzyme called alpha-toxin was thought to be the key virulence factor in necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens. However, using a gene knockout mutant we have recently shown that alpha-toxin is not essential for pathogenesis. We have now discovered a key virulence determinant. A novel toxin (NetB) was identified in a C. perfringens strain isolated from a chicken suffering from necrotic enteritis (NE). The toxin displayed limited amino acid sequence similarity to several pore forming toxins including beta-toxin from C. perfringens (38% identity) and alpha-toxin from Staphylococcus aureus (31% identity). NetB was only identified in C. perfringens type A strains isolated from chickens suffering NE. Both purified native NetB and recombinant NetB displayed cytotoxic activity against the chicken leghorn male hepatoma cell line LMH; inducing cell rounding and lysis. To determine the role of NetB in NE a netB mutant of a virulent C. perfringens chicken isolate was constructed by homologous recombination, and its virulence assessed in a chicken disease model. The netB mutant was unable to cause disease whereas the wild-type parent strain and the netB mutant complemented with a wild-type netB gene caused significant levels of NE. These data show unequivocally that in this isolate a functional NetB toxin is critical for the ability of C. perfringens to cause NE in chickens. This novel toxin is the first definitive virulence factor to be identified in avian C. perfringens strains capable of causing NE. Furthermore, the netB mutant is the first rationally attenuated strain obtained in an NE-causing isolate of C. perfringens; as such it has considerable vaccine potential.
Project description:Background:This study utilized a chicken model of chronic physiological stress mediated by corticosterone (CORT) administration to ascertain how various host metrics are altered upon challenge with Clostridium perfringens. Necrotic enteritis (NE) is a disease of the small intestine of chickens incited by C. perfringens, which can result in elevated morbidity and mortality. The objective of the current study was to investigate how physiological stress alters host responses and predisposes birds to subclinical NE. Results:Birds administered CORT exhibited higher densities of C. perfringens in their intestine, and this corresponded to altered production of intestinal mucus. Characterization of mucus showed that C. perfringens treatment altered the relative abundance of five glycans. Birds inoculated with C. perfringens did not exhibit evidence of acute morbidity. However, histopathologic changes were observed in the small intestine of infected birds. Birds administered CORT showed altered gene expression of tight junction proteins (i.e. CLDN3 and CLDN5) and toll-like receptors (i.e. TLR2 and TLR15) in the small intestine. Moreover, birds administered CORT exhibited increased expression of IL2 and G-CSF in the spleen, and IL1?, IL2, IL18, IFN?, and IL6 in the thymus. Body weight gain was impaired only in birds that were administered CORT and challenged with C. perfringens. Conclusion:CORT administration modulated a number of host functions, which corresponded to increased densities of C. perfringens in the small intestine and weight gain impairment in chickens. Importantly, results implicate physiological stress as an important predisposing factor to NE, which emphasizes the importance of managing stress to optimize chicken health.
Project description:Necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by Clostridium perfringens is responsible for huge financial losses in the poultry industry annually. A diet highly supplemented with fishmeal is one factor predisposing chickens to the development of clinical NE. However, the effects of fishmeal-rich diets on the gut microbiota and immune response in chickens with C. perfringens challenge over the long-term are not well-understood. Here, a chicken NE model was established in which chickens were fed high fishmeal diet and subsequently infected with C. perfringens (FM/CP). Two control groups of chickens, one that was not infected and had a high fishmeal feeding (FM) and another group only infected with C. perfringens with basic diets (CP), were used as comparators. We analyzed the gut microbiota and immune response of the three groups at the age of 20, 24 [1 day post-infection (dpi)] and 30 days (7 dpi) using 16S rDNA sequencing and real-time PCR, respectively. We found that the composition of the gut microbiota had significant shifted in both the CP and FM/CP groups, although the CP group did not have intestinal lesions. The structure of the gut microbiota in C. perfringens-challenged chickens, independent of a high fishmeal diet, had the tendency to return to their non-infection state if the chickens no longer received C. perfringens challenge. Gut microbiota variation with time in challenged chickens with high fishmeal diet feeding was superimposed upon that of non-infected chickens with high fishmeal feeding. For the immune response, the relative expression of IL-8 in the ileum was significantly higher in infected chickens independent of high fishmeal feeding than in non-infected chickens. However, the expression of alpha 1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) genes in chicken liver were significantly increased in FM/CP compared to the other groups. In conclusion, high fishmeal feeding induced significant changes to the structure of chicken gut microbiota over time and such changes provided an opening for C. perfringens infection to progress to NE. The relative expression of AGP and SAA in liver tissue may be used as diagnostic biomarkers for poultry NE but such an indication requires further investigation.
Project description:Background:Clostridium perfringens-induced chicken necrotic enteritis (NE) is responsible for substantial economic losses worldwide annually. Recently, as a result of antibiotic growth promoter prohibition, the prevalence of NE in chickens has reemerged. This study was aimed to reduce NE through titrating dietary deoxycholic acid (DCA) as an effective antimicrobial alternative. Materials and methods:Day-old broiler chicks were assigned to six groups and fed diets supplemented with 0 (basal diet), 0.8, 1.0 and 1.5?g/kg (on top of basal diet) DCA. The birds were challenged with Eimeria maxima (20,000 oocysts/bird) at d 18 and C. perfringens (109?CFU/bird per day) at d 23, 24, and 25 to induce NE. The birds were sacrificed at d 26 when ileal tissue and digesta were collected for analyzing histopathology, mRNA accumulation and C. perfringens colonization by real-time PCR, targeted metabolomics of bile acids, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), or terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay. Results:At the cellular level, birds infected with E. maxima and C. perfringens developed subclinical NE and showed shortening villi, crypt hyperplasia and immune cell infiltration in ileum. Dietary DCA alleviated the NE-induced ileal inflammation in a dose-dependent manner compared to NE control birds. Consistent with the increased histopathological scores, subclinical NE birds suffered body weight gain reduction compared to the uninfected birds, an effect attenuated with increased doses of dietary DCA. At the molecular level, the highest dose of DCA at 1.5?g/kg reduced C. perfringens luminal colonization compared to NE birds using PCR and FISH. Furthermore, the dietary DCA reduced subclinical NE-induced intestinal inflammatory gene expression and cell apoptosis using PCR and TUNEL assays. Upon further examining ileal bile acid pool through targeted metabolomics, subclinical NE reduced the total bile acid level in ileal digesta compared to uninfected birds. Notably, dietary DCA increased total bile acid and DCA levels in a dose-dependent manner compared to NE birds. Conclusion:These results indicate that DCA attenuates NE-induced intestinal inflammation and bile acid reduction and could be an effective antimicrobial alternative against the intestinal disease.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens causes severe gastrointestinal diseases, which include necrotic enteritis (NE) in chickens, a deadly disease worldwide. We report here the draft genome sequence of Clostridium perfringens strain TAMU, which was used in developing an NE chicken challenge model. This C. perfringens TAMU genome sequence will aid in advancing potential intervention strategies to reduce NE pathogenesis.
Project description:Subtherapeutic levels of dietary antibiotics increase growth performance in domestic animals, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, 1-week-old broiler chickens were challenged with LPS (experiment 1), or co-infected with Eimeria maxima and Clostridium perfringens as an experimental model of necrotic enteritis (experiment 2), and fed a standard basal diet or a basal diet supplemented with virginiamycin or bacitracin methylene disalicylate. In experiment 1, LPS-challenged chickens fed the unsupplemented diet had decreased body weight gains, compared with unsupplemented controls given the PBS control. In contrast, antibiotic supplementation increased body weight gains in both the LPS-challenged and PBS groups, compared with the antibiotic-free diet. LPS-challenged chickens fed the unsupplemented diet had increased expression levels of intestinal tight junction proteins (ZO1, JAM2), MUC2 gel-forming mucin, and inflammatory cytokines (IL-1?, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17A) at 24 h post-challenge, compared with unsupplemented chickens given the PBS control. However, LPS-challenged chickens fed the antibiotic-supplemented diets had decreased levels of intestinal inflammatory cytokine transcripts, compared with LPS-challenged chickens given the unsupplemented basal diet. In experiment 2, E. maxima/C. perfringens-co-infected chickens fed the antibiotic-supplemented diets had increased body weight gains, decreased intestinal pathology, and greater intestinal crypt depth, compared with co-infected chickens given the unsupplemented diet. Further, similar to LPS challenge, E. maxima/C. perfringens-co-infection of chickens fed the antibiotic-supplemented diets decreased expression levels of intestinal inflammatory cytokines, compared with co-infected chickens given the unsupplemented diet. These results support the hypothesis that dietary antibiotic growth promoters might increase poultry growth, in part, through down-regulation of pathogen-induced inflammatory responses.
Project description:Background:Magnolia tree bark has been widely used in traditional Asian medicine. However, to our knowledge, no studies have been reported investigating the effects of dietary supplementation with magnolia bark extract in chickens. Objective:We tested the hypothesis that dietary supplementation of chickens with a Magnolia officinalis bark extract would increase growth performance in uninfected and Eimeria maxima/Clostridium perfringens co-infected chickens. Methods:A total of 168 chickens were fed from hatch either a standard diet or a diet supplemented with 0.33 mg or 0.56 mg M. officinalis bark extract/kg (M/H low or M/H high, respectively) from days 1 to 35. At day 14, half of the chickens were orally infected with E. maxima, followed by C. perfringens infection at day 18 to induce experimental avian necrotic enteritis. Daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio, body weight gain, and final body weight were measured as indicators of growth performance. Serum ?1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) concentrations were measured as an indicator of systemic inflammation, and intestinal lesion scores were determined as a marker of disease progression. Transcript levels for catalase, heme oxygenase 1, and superoxide dismutase in the intestine, liver, spleen, and skeletal muscle were measured as indicators of antioxidant status. Results:Growth performance increased between days 1 and 35 in uninfected and E. maxima/C. perfringens co-infected chickens fed M/H-low or M/H-high diets compared with unsupplemented controls. Gut lesion scores were decreased, whereas AGP concentrations were unchanged, in co-infected chickens fed magnolia-supplemented diets compared with unsupplemented controls. In general, transcripts for antioxidant enzymes increased in chickens fed magnolia-supplemented diets compared with unsupplemented controls, and significant interactions between dietary supplementation and co-infection were observed for all antioxidant enzyme transcript levels. Conclusion:Magnolia bark extract might be useful for future development of dietary strategies to improve poultry health, disease resistance, and productivity without the use of antibiotic growth promoters.