Combined Maternal and Post-Hatch Dietary Supplementation of 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol Alters Early Post-Hatch Broiler Chicken Duodenal Macrophage and Crypt Cell Populations and Their Mitotic Activity

Front Vet Sci. 2022 Apr 11:9:882566. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.882566. eCollection 2022.


The previous work has demonstrated that maternal supplementation of the circulating metabolite of vitamin D3 (D3), 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25OHD3), enhances the immunocompetence of broiler chick offspring. In post-hatch broiler diets, 25OHD3 has been shown to affect intestinal morphology and improve the immune status of broilers. An experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial treatment arrangement was conducted to assess the effects of combining maternal (MDIET) and post-hatch (PDIET) dietary 25OHD3 inclusion on duodenal crypt and macrophage cell populations and mitotic activity in young broiler chickens. All diets were formulated to provide 5,000 IU of vitamin D. Broiler breeder hens were offered 1 of 2 MDIET: 5,000 IU D3 per kg of feed (MCTL) or 2,240 IU of D3 + 2,760 IU of 25OHD3 per kg of feed (M25OHD3) from week 25 to 41. Male broiler offspring (n = 480) hatched from eggs collected during week 41 of breeding age were allotted in raised floor pens (4 birds per pen from day 0 to 7 and individually allotted from day 8 to 21). Chicks were fed 1 of 2 PDIET (starter day 0 to 21): 5,000 IU D3 per kg of feed (PCTL) or 2,240 IU D3 + 2,760 IU 25OHD3 (P25OHD3). DUO samples (n = 12 birds per treatment per day) were collected on days 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 for cryohistological and immunofluorescence analysis to facilitate the enumeration of the total macrophages, CD80+ macrophages (pro-inflammatory macrophages), and mitotically active cells (BrdU+) to calculate the proportion of proliferating cells (PPC) per duodenal crypt. Bird age impacted crypt PPC with the greatest PPC per duodenal crypt observed on days 3 and 9, and the lowest PPC per crypt was observed on day 21 (P < 0.0001). Broilers from the M25OHD3:PCTL treatment had a greater PPC (P =.002) than birds from the MCTL:PCTL treatment at day 3. An interaction among MDIET and PDIET was observed for proliferating macrophages at day 21 (P = 0.029) where M25OHD3:P25OHD3 birds had more proliferating macrophages than M25OHD3:PCTL-fed birds. These results indicate that combined MDIET and PDIET 25OHD3 supplementation may alter early post-hatch duodenal development and innate immunity.

Keywords: 25-hydroxycholecalciferol; broiler chicken; intestinal crypt cell mitotic activity; intestinal innate immunity; macrophage; pro-inflammatory macrophages; vitamin D.