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Prev Vet Med. 2006 Jun 16;74(4):279-92. Epub 2006 Jan 23.

The effect of hen-egg antibodies on Clostridium perfringens colonization in the gastrointestinal tract of broiler chickens.

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University of Saskatchewan, SK, Canada.


We evaluated the ability of hen-egg antibodies (HEA) to reduce intestinal colonization by Clostridium perfringens in broiler chickens. Antibodies against C. perfringens or cholera toxin (negative control) were obtained from the eggs of laying hens hyperimmunized using a C. perfringens bacterin or cholera toxin. Eggs were collected, pooled, and egg antibodies were concentrated by polyethylene-glycol precipitation. An initial experiment was conducted to determine the in vivo activity of the administered antibody along the length of the intestine. Thereafter, two feeding trials were performed to assess the efficacy of feed amended with the egg antibodies in reducing the level of colonization of C. perfringens in challenged birds. Antibody activity declined from proximal to distal regions of the intestine but remained detectable in the cecum. In the first experiment there was no significant reduction in the number of C. perfringens in the birds fed the diet amended with the anti-C. perfringens egg antibody, compared to the birds that received the anti-cholera toxin egg antibody (n=10), at any of the sampling times. In the second experiment there was a significant decrease in C. perfringens intestinal populations 72 h after treatment (n=15) as assessed by culture-based enumeration, but there was no decrease as measured by quantitative PCR based on the C. perfringens phospholipase C gene. Intestinal-lesion scores were higher in the birds that received the anti-C. perfringens HEA. Our work suggests that administration of HEA did not reduce the level of C. perfringens intestinal colonization and conversely might exacerbate necrotic enteritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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