Xanthohumol (XN), a prenylated chalcone from the hops flower, was examined for its ability to reduce invasion of Madin–Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells by Eimeria tenella sporozoites (SZ), as well as to reduce invasion by E. tenella and E. acervulina SZ in the chick host. Additionally, XN was tested as an anticoccidial feed additive at 20 ppm against challenge infections with E. acervulina, E. maxima, and E. tenella. Cell invasion by E. tenella SZ was inhibited 66% by treatment of SZ with 22 ppm XN. This inhibition was associated with an apparent physical disruption of the apical ends of the SZ. Rectal challenges with E. tenella SZ treated with 5, 10, and 20 ppm XN resulted in significantly reduced gross-lesion scores and normal chick-host weight gains compared with challenge with untreated SZ. Oral challenges with similarly treated E. acervulina SZ, accomplished with prior antacid treatment, resulted in significantly reduced gross lesions and reduced oocyst shedding compared with challenge with untreated SZ and were associated with physical disruption of sporozoite morphology. In a pilot test, provision of feed supplemented with 20 ppm XN for 3 days before challenge to 6 days after challenge did not control challenge infections with E. acervulina, E. maxima, or E. tenella as judged by measurements of weight gain, feed conversion, and gross lesions. Although XN-fed chicks infected with E. acervulina and E. maxima shed fewer oocysts than those on control feed, the differences in numbers were not statistically significant (P > 0.05).
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