Glucose oligosaccharide and long-chain glucomannan feed additives induce enhanced activation of intraepithelial NK cells and relative abundance of commensal lactic acid bacteria in broiler chickens

06 Apr 2022

Restrictions on the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry stimulate the development of alternative nutritional solutions to maintain or improve poultry health. This requires more insight in the modulatory effects of feed additives on the immune system and microbiota composition. Compounds known to influence the innate immune system and microbiota composition were selected and screened in vitro, in ovo, and in vivo. Among all compounds, 57 enhanced NK cell activation, 56 increased phagocytosis, and 22 increased NO production of the macrophage cell line HD11 in vitro. Based on these results, availability and regulatory status, six compounds were selected for further analysis. None of these compounds showed negative effects on growth, hatchability, and feed conversion in in ovo and in vivo studies. Based on the most interesting numerical results and highest future potential feasibility, two compounds were analyzed further. Administration of glucose oligosaccharide and long-chain glucomannan in vivo both enhanced activation of intraepithelial NK cells and led to increased relative abundance of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) amongst ileum and ceca microbiota after seven days of supplementation. Positive correlations between NK cell subsets and activation, and relative abundance of LAB suggest the involvement of microbiota in the modulation of the function of intraepithelial NK cells. This study identifies glucose oligosaccharide and longchain glucomannan supplementation as effective nutritional strategies to modulate the intestinal microbiota composition and strengthen the intraepithelial innate immune system.