The protection of intestinal barrier function and the anti-inflammatory effects of natural clinoptilolite (NCLI) and modified clinoptilolite (MCLI) were investigated in broilers that were repeatedly challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). A total of 288 1-d-old broiler chicks were divided equally into three treatment groups: control, NCLI-treated (2%) and MCLI-treated (2%). Half of the birds from each treatment group were challenged with 0.9% NaCl solution or LPS (250μg/kg body weight, administered orally) at 16, 18 and 21d of age. The results indicated that, prior to LPS challenge, the diet had no effect on bird growth performance (P>0.05). The oral administration of LPS was also not associated with any significant changes in poultry performance (P>0.05). In LPS-challenged birds that were pretreated with NCLI (2%) or MCLI (2%), the LPS-induced increases in the plasma and intestinal mucosa concentrations of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-4 and IL-10 were dramatically attenuated. Additionally, significant decreases in the plasma d-lactic acid and diamine oxidase (DAO) levels were found in birds that were pretreated with NCLI or MCLI. Furthermore, both NCLI and MCLI reduced the sICAM-1 concentration in the intestinal mucosa. In conclusion, NCLI and MCLI are able to prevent the LPS-induced intestinal mucosa damage and inflammatory response in vivo. These beneficial effects suggest that NCLI and MCLI act as anti-inflammatory agents in part by inhibiting neutrophil infiltration and hyperactivation and by suppressing the secretion of various plasma and intestinal mucosa inflammatory mediators.
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