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  • 1 University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy Department of Pathological Anatomy Komenského 73 041 81 Košice Slovak Republic
  • 2 Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Animal Physiology Košice Slovak Republic
  • 3 Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Chemistry Bratislava Slovak Republic
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The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of lignin supplementation of a diet contaminated with the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEA) on peripheral blood leukocytes and duodenal immunocompetent cells in broiler chickens. From day 1 after hatching, all chickens were fed an identical control diet for two weeks. Then chickens of Group 1 continued to be fed the control diet, whereas Group 2 was fed the same diet supplemented with lignin at 0.5% level. Simultaneously, Group 3 started to receive a diet contaminated with DON (2.95 mg kg−1) and ZEA (1.59 mg kg−1), while Group 4 received an identical contaminated diet supplemented with 0.5% lignin for further two weeks. Samples of blood and duodenal tissue were collected from 6 birds of each group at 4 weeks of age. Neither counts of white blood cells nor phagocytic function in the peripheral blood were significantly affected in the mycotoxin- and/or lignin-treated birds. As compared to the control, increased numbers of IgM-bearing cells were found in the peripheral blood in Group 3 fed the contaminated diet (P < 0.05) and in Group 4 given the contaminated diet supplemented with lignin (P < 0.01). While the contaminated diet led to reduced numbers of duodenal CD4+ cells, in Group 2 treated only with lignin the number of duodenal CD4+ cells was increased. Lignin enrichment of the contaminated diet did not eliminate the mycotoxin-induced reduction in the number of duodenal CD4+ cells. The results suggest that dietary supplementation of lignin as an indigestible compound to poultry feed may increase the density of some intestinal immunocompetent cells without exerting effects on that in the peripheral blood. However, when added to a diet contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins, lignin did not prevent the mycotoxin-induced changes in the numbers of blood and intestinal immunocompetent cells.

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