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Poult Sci. 2011 Jun;90(6):1220-6. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-01308.

Influence of organic zinc supplementation on the antioxidant status and immune responses of broilers challenged with Eimeria tenella.

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College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People's Republic of China.


An experiment was conducted to investigate the influence of Zn supplementation on the performance, antioxidant status, and immune responses of broilers challenged with Eimeria tenella. A total of 384 male broilers (1 d old) were assigned to 8 treatments consisting of 8 replicates of 6 chicks each. A basal corn-soybean meal diet (29.6 mg of Zn/kg) was supplemented with methionine hydroxyl analog-Zn chelate at 0, 20, 40, and 60 mg/kg of diet. At 21 d of age, birds were orally gavaged with 1.5 × 10(4) sporulated E. tenella oocysts. Dietary Zn supplementation had no effect on growth performance of either the challenged or nonchallenged birds. Activities of Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase were increased (P < 0.001) with increasing Zn levels in both the challenged and nonchallenged groups. Lipid peroxidation tended to be reduced (P = 0.08) at Zn inclusion of 20 and 40 mg/kg. In vitro lymphocyte proliferation responses to mitogen concanavalin A and LPS were not influenced by dietary Zn or challenge. The main effects of Zn level and challenge were significant for secretory IgA on d 28 (P < 0.01) and 35 (P < 0.001). During both periods, secretory IgA of birds receiving dietary Zn supplementation was higher (P < 0.05) than that of those receiving no Zn supplementation. Birds fed Zn supplementation excreted fewer oocysts in the excreta than those receiving no Zn supplement (P < 0.001). Results indicated that organic Zn supplementation reduced oxidative stress and improved some immune responses irrespective of whether birds were healthy or challenged with E. tenella.

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