Long-term feed withdrawal has been shown to increase ileocecal intestinal colonization and fecal shedding of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis in challenged hens. Less information is available regarding effects of fasting on crop colonization. Two trials were conducted to compare effects of 14-day feed withdrawal vs. full feed on crop colonization in hens challenged with Salmonella Enteritidis. The levels of Salmonella Enteritidis in the crops of fasted hens were significantly higher than in nonfasted hens on days 3 and 10 and days 3, 9, and 16 postinfection (PI) in trials 1 and 2, respectively. Fecal shedding of Salmonella Enteritidis was significantly increased in the fasted hens on day 10 PI in trial 1. Analysis of crop IgA anti–Salmonella Enteritidis lipopolysaccharide levels in crop lavage samples of hens in trial 1 revealed a humoral response PI in both treatment groups with no significant differences, although peak response for fasted hens occurred 1 wk later. Histologic evaluation of hematoxylin and eosin–stained crop sections from trial 1 birds revealed mild to moderate heterophilic infiltration within the crop lamina propria (LP) or LP and epithelium of nonfasted infected hens at 24 and 96 hr PI. In comparison, heterophils in crops of fasted hens infected at this time point were sparse, indicating a possible diminished heterophil response in the fasted birds. Multifocal areas of tissue inflammation, as indicated by marked heterophil infiltration, with necrosis and sloughing of epithelium, were observed in crops from fasted hens at day 11 PI (14th day of feed withdrawal) but not in the fed groups. This severe heterophilic inflammation was observed in both challenged and nonchallenged fasted hens, suggesting that some factor other than Salmonella Enteritidis was responsible. These results indicate that feed withdrawal can have a dramatic effect on the integrity of the crop and its ultimate response to infection.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3