Effects of dietary threonine and immune stress on growth performance, carcass trait, serum immune parameters, and intestinal muc2 and NF-κb gene expression in Pekin ducks from hatch to 21 days

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An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of different dietary threonine (Thr) levels and immune stress on Pekin ducklings' growth performance, carcass traits, serum immune parameters, and intestinal mucin 2 (MUC2) and nuclear factor kB (NF-κB) gene expressions. A total of 320 Pekin ducklings was randomly assigned to a 5 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Each treatment group consisted of 4 replicate pens with 8 ducks per pen. Ducklings were fed 5 graded levels of Thr: 0.49, 0.56, 0.60, 0.65, and 0.76% from hatch to 21 d of age. At 11 d of age, ducks in the stressed groups were challenged with bovine serum albumin (BSA), and ducks in the unstressed groups were injected with normal saline water. The results showed that increasing Thr supplementation from 0.49 to 0.56% in the diet can improve BWG; feed consumption; weight and relative weight of breast and leg; weight of liver, bursa of Fabricius, spleen, and thymus; serum natural immune globulin A (IgA) concentration; and MUC2 gene expression in the ileum of 21-day-old Pekin ducks, significantly (P < 0.05). Immune stress with BSA had a significant effect on 21-day-old Pekin ducklings' BWG, feed consumption, and weight and relative weight of breast and thymus (P < 0.05), but no interaction between BSA and dietary Thr content was noticed in our experiment in 21-day-old Pekin ducks (P < 0.05). Dietary Thr requirements of the unstressed groups and stressed groups based on broken-line model analyses for ducks' BWG were 0.705 and 0.603%, respectively, and for ducks' feed consumption were 0.724 and 0.705%, respectively.

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