Effects of sodium butyrate on intestinal health and gut microbiota composition during intestinal inflammation progression in broilers

Poult Sci. 2019 Oct 1;98(10):4449-4456. doi: 10.3382/ps/pez279.


Butyric acid is a beneficial feed additive used in animal production, including poultry production. However, there are few reports on butyric acid as a prophylactic treatment against intestinal inflammation in broilers. The current study explored the effect of sodium butyrate (SB) as a prophylactic treatment on the intestinal health and gut microbiota of broilers with intestinal inflammation induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) by monitoring changes in intestinal histopathology, gut leakiness indicators, inflammatory cytokines, and gut microbiota composition. Sodium butyrate supplementation prior to DSS administration significantly reduced the lesion scores of intestinal bleeding (P < 0.05) and increased villus height and the total mucosa of the ileum (P < 0.05). Regardless of intestinal inflammation, supplementation with SB at 300 mg/kg significantly decreased the levels of D (-)-lactate (P < 0.05), interleukin-6, and interleukin-1β (P < 0.05) but increased the level of interleukin-10 (P < 0.05). The SB treatment did not affect the alpha diversity of intestinal microbiota during intestinal inflammation progression but altered their composition, and the microbial community structure of treated broilers was similar to that of control broilers. Taken together, our results reveal the importance of SB in improving intestinal development, inducing an anti-inflammatory effect during intestinal inflammation progression, and modulating the microbial community in broilers. Sodium butyrate seems to be optimized for anti-inflammatory effects at higher doses (300 mg/kg SB).

Keywords: broiler; intestinal inflammation; microbiota composition; sodium butyrate.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Butyric Acid / administration & dosage
  • Butyric Acid / pharmacology*
  • Chickens*
  • Dextran Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Dextran Sulfate / immunology
  • Dextran Sulfate / toxicity
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / veterinary
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / chemically induced
  • Poultry Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Poultry Diseases / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Butyric Acid
  • Dextran Sulfate