Effects of dietary threonine supplementation on intestinal barrier function and gut microbiota of laying hens
The effects of supplemental dietary threonine (Thr) on laying performance, expression of intestinal mucin 2 (MUC2) and secretory IgA (sIgA), and intestinal microbiota of laying hens fed a low CP diet were investigated. A total of 240 Lohmann Brown laying hens, 28 wk of age, was allocated to 3 dietary treatments, each of which included 5 replicates of 16 hens. Hens were fed a control diet (16% CP), a low CP diet (14% CP), or a low CP diet supplemented with 0.3% L-Thr for 12 weeks. Chemical analyses of the diets for Thr are 0.49, 0.45, and 0.69%, respectively. Lowering dietary CP impaired egg production and egg mass of laying hens. Dietary Thr supplementation to the low CP diet increased (P < 0.05) egg production and egg mass. In addition, ileal sIgA contents and MUC2 and sIgA mRNA expression were increased (P < 0.05) by dietary Thr addition. Dietary CP reduction reduced (P < 0.05) intestinal bacterial diversity, whereas dietary Thr supplementation to the low CP diet recovered the bacteria diversity and significantly increased the abundance of potential beneficial bacteria. In conclusion, dietary Thr supplementation to a low CP diet could affect intestinal health and hence productivity via regulating intestinal mucin and sIgA expression, and microbial population of laying hens.