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Intestinal Mucosal Immunity-Mediated Modulation of the Gut Microbiome by Oral Delivery of Enterococcus faecium Against Salmonella Enteritidis Pathogenesis in a Laying Hen Model

  • 2022-03-15
  • Frontiers in Immunology 13
    • Shimeng Huang
    • Xiao Rong
    • Meiling Liu
    • Z. Liang
    • Y. Geng
    • Xinyue Wang
    • Jianyun Zhang
    • C. Ji
    • Lihong Zhao
    • Qiugang Ma


Enterococcus faecium (E. faecium) is a protective role that has crucial beneficial functions on intestinal homeostasis. This study aimed to investigate the effects of E. faecium on the laying performance, egg quality, host metabolism, intestinal mucosal immunity, and gut microbiota of laying hens under the Salmonella Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) challenge. A total of 400 45-week-old laying hens were randomly divided into four treatments (CON, EF, SCON, and SEF groups) with five replicates for each group and 20 hens per replicate and fed with a basal diet or a basal diet supplemented with E. faecium (2.5 × 108 cfu/g feed). The experiment comprised two phases, consisting of the pre-salmonella challenged phase (from day 14 to day 21) and the post-salmonella challenged phase (from day 21 to day 42). At day 21 and day 22, the hens in SCON and SEF groups were orally challenged with 1.0 ml suspension of 109 cfu/ml S. Enteritidis (CVCC3377) daily, whereas the hens in CON and EF groups received the same volume of sterile PBS. Herein, our results showed that E. faecium administration significantly improved egg production and shell thickness during salmonella infection. Also, E. faecium affected host lipid metabolism parameters via downregulating the concentration of serum triglycerides, inhibited oxidative stress, and enhanced immune functions by downregulating the level of serum malondialdehyde and upregulating the level of serum immunoglobulin G. Of note, E. faecium supplementation dramatically alleviated intestinal villi structure injury and crypt atrophy, and improved intestinal mucosal barrier injuries caused by S. Enteritidis challenge. Moreover, our data revealed that E. faecium supplementation ameliorated S. Enteritidis infection-induced gut microbial dysbiosis by altering the gut microbial composition (reducing Bacteroides, Desulfovibrio, Synergistes, and Sutterella, and increasing Barnesiella, Butyricimonas, Bilophila, and Candidatus_Soleaferrea), and modulating the gut microbial function, such as cysteine and methionine metabolism, pyruvate metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, tryptophan metabolism, salmonella infection, and the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway. Taken together, E. faecium has a strong capacity to inhibit the S. Enteritidis colonization of hens. The results highlight the potential of E. faecium supplementation as a dietary supplement to combat S. Enteritidis infection in animal production and to promote food safety.

Keywords: E. faecium; S. Enteritidis; gut microbiota; hens; intestinal health; performance.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Enterococcus faeciumImproved Gut Microbial DysbiosisBeneficial
Enterococcus faeciumImproved Immune FunctionBeneficial
Enterococcus faeciumImproved Intestinal FunctionBeneficial
Enterococcus faeciumReduced Oxidative StressBeneficial
Enterococcus faeciumReduced Serum Triglyceride LevelsBeneficial
Enterococcus faecium Vpro 21Improved Gut Microbial DysbiosisBeneficial
Enterococcus faecium Vpro 21Improved Immune FunctionBeneficial
Enterococcus faecium Vpro 21Improved Intestinal Barrier FunctionBeneficial
Enterococcus faecium Vpro 21Reduced Hepatic Oxidative StressBeneficial
Enterococcus faecium Vpro 21Reduced Serum Triglyceride LevelsBeneficial
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