Role of caecal microbiota in the differential resistance of inbred chicken lines to colonization by Campylobacter jejuni

Chintoan-Uta, C and Wisedchanwet, T and Glendinning, L and Bremner, A and Psifidi, A and Vervelde, L and Watson, K and Watson, M and Stevens, M P (2020) Role of caecal microbiota in the differential resistance of inbred chicken lines to colonization by Campylobacter jejuni. APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY.

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12548_Role-of-caecal-microbiota-in-the-differential-resistance-of-inbred-chicken-lines-to-colonization-by-Campylobacter-jejuni_Accepted.pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract

Campylobacter is the leading foodborne bacterial diarrhoeal illness in many countries, with up to 80 % of human cases attributed to the avian reservoir. The only control strategies currently available are stringent on-farm biosecurity and carcass treatments. Heritable differences in the resistance of chicken lines to Campylobacter colonisation have been reported and resistance-associated quantitative trait loci are emerging, albeit their impact on colonization appears modest. Recent studies indicated a protective role of the microbiota against colonization by Campylobacter in chickens. Furthermore, in murine models, differences in resistance to bacterial infections can be partially transferred between lines by transplantation of gut microbiota. In this study, we investigated whether heritable differences in colonization of inbred chicken lines by Campylobacter jejuni are associated with differences in caecal microbiota. We performed homologous and heterologous caecal microbiota transplants between line 61 (resistant) and line N (susceptible), by orally administering caecal contents collected from 3-week-old donors to day-of-hatch chicks. Recipient birds were challenged (day 21) with C. jejuni 11168H. In birds given homologous microbiota, the differential resistance of lines to C. jejuni colonization was reproduced. Contrary to our hypothesis, transfer of caecal microbiota from line 61 to line N significantly increased C. jejuni colonization. No significant difference in the overall composition of the caecal microbial communities of the two lines was identified, albeit line-specific differences for specific operational taxonomic units were identified. Our data suggest that while heritable differences in avian resistance to Campylobacter colonization exist, these are not explained by significant variation in the caecal microbiota.

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