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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Functional Genomics Approaches for Controlling Diseases of Poultry

Location: Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory

Title: Butyrate enhances disease resistance of chickens by inducing antimicrobial host defense peptide gene expression

Authors
item Sunkara, Lakshmi
item Achanta, Mallika
item Frye, Nicole
item Bommineni, Yugendar
item Dai, Gan
item Jiang, Weiyu
item Kaiser, Michael
item Lamont, Susan
item Lillehoj, Hyun
item Baker, Ali
item Teeter, Robert
item Zhang, Guolong

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 2, 2012
Publication Date: June 6, 2012
Citation: Sunkara, L.T., Achanta, M., Frye, N.B., Bommineni, Y.R., Dai, G., Jiang, W., Kaiser, M.G., Lamont, S., Lillehoj, H.S., Baker, A., Teeter, R.G., Zhang, G. 2012. Butyrate enhances disease resistance of chickens by inducing antimicrobial host defense peptide gene expression. PLoS One. 6(11). DOI:6:E27225/Journal.Pone.

Interpretive Summary: Innate immune response is a timely response of host immune system to invading pathogens and involves many different types of effector cells and their secreted products. One group of effector proteins called host defense peptides (HDPs) constitute a large group of natural broad-spectrum antimicrobials and play an important role in first line of defense. Therefore, increasing the levels of HDPs using novel means will be an important first step to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal production. In this study ARS scientist collaborated with scientists at Oklahoma State University showed that exogenous administration of butyrate, a major type of short-chain fatty acids derived from bacterial fermentation of undigested dietary fiber, induced HDPs and enhanced disease resistance in chickens. Furthermore, feeding diets supplemented with 0.1% butyrate enhanced HDP gene expression in the intestinal tract of chickens. More importantly, such a feeding strategy resulted in a nearly 10-fold reduction in the bacterial titer in the cecum following experimental infections with S. enteritidis. This new information is important and will be used to develop an antibiotic-alternative strategy to enhance host innate immunity and disease resistance by poultry scientists.

Technical Abstract: Host defense peptides (HDPs) constitute a large group of natural broad-spectrum antimicrobials and an important first line of immunity in virtually all forms of life. Specific augmentation of synthesis of endogenous HDPs may represent a promising antibiotic-alternative approach to disease control. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that exogenous administration of butyrate, a major type of short-chain fatty acids derived from bacterial fermentation of undigested dietary fiber, is capable of inducing HDPs and enhancing disease resistance in chickens. We have found that butyrate is a potent inducer of several, but not all, chicken HDPs in HD11 macrophages as well as in primary monocytes, bone marrow cells, and jejuna and cecal explants. In addition, butyrate treatment enhanced the antibacterial activity of chicken monocytes against Salmonella enteritidis, with a minimum impact on inflammatory cytokine production, phagocytosis, and oxidative burst capacities of the cells. Furthermore, feed supplementation with 0.1% butyrate led to a significant increase in HDP gene expression in the intestinal tract of chickens. More importantly, such a feeding strategy resulted in a nearly 10-fold reduction in the bacterial titer in the cecum following experimental infections with S. enteritidis. Collectively, the results indicated that butyrate-induced synthesis of endogenous HDPs is a phylogenetically conserved mechanism of innate host defense shared by mammals and aves and that butyrate supplementation has potential for further development as a convenient antibiotic-alternative strategy to enhance host innate immunity and disease resistance.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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