Live broiler chickens are important in the transmission of Salmonella to humans. Reducing Salmonella levels in the intestine of broiler chickens, in part, requires understanding of the interactions between Salmonella and the intestinal barriers that represent the first line of defense. Such barriers include the mucus layer (composed of mucins secreted by goblet cells) and the underlying epithelium. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of Salmonella Typhimurium infection on intestinal goblet cell dynamics (density and size) and villous morphology in broiler chicks. In Experiment 1, broiler chicks were either challenged with sterile media (control treatment) or orally given 7.4 × 107 colony-forming units (CFU) at 3 days of age (termed the CST treatment). Treatments were similar in Experiment 2, except that chicks in the CST treatment were challenged with 7.8 × 106 CFU at 4 days of age. Duration of each experiment was 14 days. At 7 days postchallenge (PC) in Experiment 1, jejunal tissue sections were collected, formalin-fixed, and routinely processed for histologic measurement of villous morphometric indices. In Experiment 2, at 10 days PC, jejunal tissue sections were collected and processed for histologic determination of goblet cell numbers and size, in addition to villous measurements. Results showed that Salmonella Typhimurium infection increased goblet cell density, reduced villous surface area, increased the incidence of epithelial exfoliation, and increased the incidence of heterophil influx into the lamina propria (P < 0.05). It was concluded that Salmonella Typhimurium infection impacts goblet cell biology and exerts morphopathologic changes in the jejunum of broiler chicks.
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Vol. 54 • No. 2