The mRNA expression of amino acid and sugar transporters, aminopeptidase, as well as the di- and tri-peptide transporter PepT1 in the intestines ofEimeriainfected broiler chickens

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Abstract

Coccidiosis in chickens is caused by infection of gut epithelial cells with protozoan parasites of the genus Eimeria. This disease causes losses to the poultry industry since infected birds fail to gain weight as rapidly as non-infected birds and efficiency of feed conversion is compromised. For the present study the effect of Eimeria on expression of components of amino acid and sugar uptake mechanisms was determined. Broiler chicks were infected with Eimeria maxima, which infects the jejunum; Eimeria acervulina, which infects the duodenum; or Eimeria tenella, which infects the ceca. Sections of the jejunum, duodenum, and ceca (depending on species of Eimeria) were taken at several time points between d zero and 14 post infection (PI) for mRNA expression analysis. Genes examined included one digestive enzyme, 7 peptide and amino acid transporters located on the brush border, 8 transporters located at the basolateral surface of the gut epithelium, and 5 sugar transporters. All 3 Eimeria species examined caused decrease in expression of brush border transporters particularly at d 5 to 7 PI, which corresponds to the time when pathology is greatest. The same pattern was seen in expression of sugar transporters. However, the expression of basolateral transporters differed among species. Eimeria tenella infection resulted in decreased expression of all basolateral transporters, while E. maxima infection caused increased expression of 2 genes and slight decrease in expression of the remaining 5 genes. Infection with E. acervulina resulted in increased expression at the height of infection of all but one basolateral transporter. In conclusion, Eimeria infection causes a general decrease in gene expression of sugar transporter and brush border AATs at the height of infection. However the expression of basolateral transporters is increased in E. maxima and E. acervulina infected birds. It is possible that decreased expression of brush border transporters in combination with increased expression of basolateral transporters leads to decrease of nutrients available for the parasite, thus limiting parasite reproduction.

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