Dietary Curcuma longa enhances resistance against Eimeria maxima and Eimeria tenella infections in chickens

Poult Sci. 2013 Oct;92(10):2635-43. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03095.


The effects of dietary supplementation with an organic extract of Curcuma longa on systemic and local immune responses to experimental Eimeria maxima and Eimeria tenella infections were evaluated in commercial broiler chickens. Dietary supplementation with C. longa enhanced coccidiosis resistance as demonstrated by increased BW gains, reduced fecal oocyst shedding, and decreased gut lesions compared with infected birds fed a nonsupplemented control diet. The chickens fed C. longa-supplemented diet showed enhanced systemic humoral immunity, as assessed by greater levels of serum antibodies to an Eimeria microneme protein, MIC2, and enhanced cellular immunity, as measured by concanavalin A-induced spleen cell proliferation, compared with controls. At the intestinal level, genome-wide gene expression profiling by microarray hybridization identified 601 differentially expressed transcripts (287 upregulated, 314 downregulated) in gut lymphocytes of C. longa-fed chickens compared with nonsupplemented controls. Based on the known functions of the corresponding mammalian genes, the C. longa-induced intestinal transcriptome was mostly associated with genes mediating anti-inflammatory effects. Taken together, these results suggest that dietary C. longa could be used to attenuate Eimeria-induced, inflammation-mediated gut damage in commercial poultry production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chickens*
  • Coccidiosis / immunology
  • Coccidiosis / veterinary*
  • Concanavalin A / metabolism
  • Curcuma / chemistry*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Eimeria / physiology
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / veterinary
  • Parasite Egg Count / veterinary
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Poultry Diseases / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Spleen / immunology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Concanavalin A