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Article

Association of Heterophil/Lymphocyte Ratio with Intestinal Barrier Function and Immune Response to Salmonella enteritidis Infection in Chicken

State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dianna Bourassa
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3498; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123498
Received: 27 October 2021 / Revised: 23 November 2021 / Accepted: 30 November 2021 / Published: 8 December 2021
Salmonella represents a serious threat to the poultry industry and human health. The heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratio indicates the robustness and immune system status of the chicken. Thus, the H/L ratio has been used for the selection of chickens that are resistant to Salmonella. However, the mechanisms conferring the resistance ability to the chickens with a low H/L ratio compared to those with a high H/L ratio remain unclear. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the association of the H/L ratio with the intestinal barrier function and immune response to Salmonella enteritidis infection in chicken. First, we enumerated the number of goblet cells in the ileum and caecum, measured the ileal villi morphology, and the expression of immune genes in the ileum and caecum of non-infected and SE-infected chickens at 7- and 21-days post-infection. Then, we assessed the correlation with the H/L ratio. The H/L ratio was negatively correlated to the number of goblet cells, IL-1β, IL-8, and IFN-γ ileal expressions, indicating that the individuals with a low H/L ratio displayed enhanced intestinal barrier and immunity. These results suggest that the H/L ratio is associated with intestinal immunity and could be a potential resistance indicator in chickens.
The heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratio has been extensively studied to select poultry that are resistant to environmental stressors. Chickens with a low H/L ratio are superior to the chickens with a high H/L ratio in survival, immune response, and resistance to Salmonella infection. However, this disease resistance ability is likely to be associated with enhanced intestinal immunity. Therefore, to expand our understanding of these underlying resistance mechanisms, it is crucial to investigate the correlation between the H/L ratio as a blood immune indicator in live chickens and the intestinal barrier function and immunity. Jinxing yellow chickens H/L line one-day-old were divided into non-infected (NI) and Salmonella enteritidis infected (SI) at 7-days old. After dividing the birds into NI and SI, blood samples were taken for H/L ratios determination, and subsequently, birds from the SI group were infected with Salmonella enteritidis (SE). We assessed the effects of SE infection on the (i) goblet cells number from the ileum and caecum gut-segments, (ii) ileal mucosa morphology, and (iii) immune gene mRNA expressions from the ileum and caecum of NI and SI chickens at 7 and 21 days-post-infection (dpi). We found that the H/L ratio was negatively correlated with most intestinal immune indices, particularly with the goblet cells number and with IL-1β, IL-8, and IFN-γ ileal expressions. In conclusion, these results suggest that the H/L ratio is associated with the intestinal barrier and immune response for SE clearance and that the chickens with a low H/L ratio displayed enhanced intestinal immunity. This study expands the current knowledge that is related to using the H/L ratio to select and breed resistant broiler chickens. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chicken; H/L; Salmonella; goblet cells; mucosal morphology; intestine; gene expression Chicken; H/L; Salmonella; goblet cells; mucosal morphology; intestine; gene expression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Thiam, M.; Barreto Sánchez, A.L.; Zhang, J.; Zheng, M.; Wen, J.; Zhao, G.; Wang, Q. Association of Heterophil/Lymphocyte Ratio with Intestinal Barrier Function and Immune Response to Salmonella enteritidis Infection in Chicken. Animals 2021, 11, 3498. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123498

AMA Style

Thiam M, Barreto Sánchez AL, Zhang J, Zheng M, Wen J, Zhao G, Wang Q. Association of Heterophil/Lymphocyte Ratio with Intestinal Barrier Function and Immune Response to Salmonella enteritidis Infection in Chicken. Animals. 2021; 11(12):3498. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123498

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thiam, Mamadou, Astrid L. Barreto Sánchez, Jin Zhang, Maiqing Zheng, Jie Wen, Guiping Zhao, and Qiao Wang. 2021. "Association of Heterophil/Lymphocyte Ratio with Intestinal Barrier Function and Immune Response to Salmonella enteritidis Infection in Chicken" Animals 11, no. 12: 3498. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123498

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