Supplementing low protein diets with methionine or threonine during mixed Eimeria challenge

James Taylor*, Yves Mercier, Oluyinka A. Olukosi, Woo K. Kim, Ramesh Selvaraj, Todd J. Applegate, Revathi Shanmugasundaram, M. Elizabeth E. Ball, Ilias Kyriazakis

*Corresponding author for this work

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We investigated the effects of supplementing low protein diets with methionine (Met) or threonine (Thr) during a mixed Eimeria (consisting of E. acervulina, E. maxima and E. tenella) challenge in broilers. All birds were fed the same starter diet (d1-9) and finisher diet (d28-35) which met Cobb 500 nutrient specifications. Birds were allocated to 1 of 4 dietary treatments from d9-28: a basal diet (19% CP); a low protein diet (16% CP); or the low protein diet supplemented with Met or Thr at 50% above recommendations. On d14, half of the birds were challenged, and half of the birds were unchallenged. From d14-28, feed intake was recorded daily and BW every 3 or 4 days. Oocyst excretion was measured daily from d18-27. On d21 and 28, 3 birds per pen were euthanized to assess nutrient digestibility, cytokine expression and intestinal histology. During the acute stage of the challenge, challenged birds reduced ADFI and ADG (P < 0.05). In the pre-patent and recovery stages, birds given the 16% CP diets increased ADFI (P < 0.05), meanwhile there were no differences in ADG in these stages (P > 0.05). Nutrient digestibility was reduced in challenged birds in the acute stage (P < 0.05) but tended to be greater than in unchallenged birds during the recovery stage. There was no significant effect of diet on oocyst excretion or intestinal histology (P > 0.05). Interactions were observed between diet and challenge on IL-10 and IL-21 expression in the caecal tonsils during the acute stage of the challenge (P < 0.05), due to reduced IL-10 expression in challenged Thr birds and greater IL-21 expression in challenged Met birds. Supplementation with Thr or Met had limited effects on the outcomes of a mixed Eimeria challenge but provides benefits to the host by enhancing their immune response.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103714
Number of pages16
JournalPoultry science
Issue number6
Early online date30 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


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