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Poult Sci. 2007 Jun;86(6):1121-32.

Microarchitecture and spatial relationship between bacteria and ileal, cecal, and colonic epithelium in chicks fed a direct-fed microbial, PrimaLac, and salinomycin.

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Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695;


Direct-fed microbials (DFM) could serve as a potential alternative to the feeding of antibiotics in poultry production. In this study, the effects of providing a DFM were compared with the feeding of salinomycin on intestinal histomorphometrics, and microarchitecture was examined. Broiler chicks (n=18 per treatment; trials 1 and 2) were fed a standard starter diet (control), control+PrimaLac (DFM; 0.3% wt/wt), and control+salinomycin (SAL; 50 ppm) from hatch to 21d. The birds were euthanized on d 21, and the ileal, jejunal, cecal, and colon tissues were dissected. Samples were examined by light microscopy (jejunum and ileum; trial 1) and scanning electron microscopy (ileum, cecum, and colon; trial 2). Feeding of the DFM increased intestinal muscle thickness (P<0.05) up to 33% compared with the control treatment. The DFM group also had increased villus height and perimeter (P=0.009 and 0.003, respectively) in jejunum. Segmented filamentous-like bacteria were less numerous in DFM-treated chicks than in the control chicks. Very few segmented filamentous-like bacteria were found near other microbes in the ileum. The DFM chicks had a larger number of bacteria positioned over or near goblet cells and in intervilli spaces. Bacteria in the colon were observed to be attached primarily around and within the crypts. Mucous thickness was less, and the density of bacteria embedded in the mucous blanket appeared to be lower in DFM-treated animals than in the control in all intestinal segments. The birds fed SAL had fewer bacteria and enterocytes in the ileum than in the control-and DFM-treated birds, and they had thicker and fewer microvilli. Because gastrointestinal track colonization by the DFM organisms can prevent the attachment of pathogens to the epithelium, spatial relationships, in this study, demonstrate the functionality of DFM and probiotics in preventing disease. It also supports previous observations that the feeding of salinomycin may alter intestinal function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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