Necrotic Enteritis in Broiler Chickens: Studies in Disease Reproduction and Pathogenesis
AuthorCooper, Kerry Kevin
Committee ChairSonger, J. Glenn
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractNecrotic enteritis in poultry is caused by Clostridium perfringens type A, and is estimated to cost the worldwide poultry industry approximately $2 billion dollars a year, due to increased mortality and decreased feed conversion and weight gain. Very little is known about the pathogenesis of this disease due to the lack of a consistently reproducible experimental model. This dissertation outlines the development of an effective and consistent experimental model for necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens. It was also found that in vivo passage through the chicken's intestinal tract let to increased virulence; we increased the proportion of birds developing disease from 34.6% to 81.4%. Researchers have proposed that alpha toxin (CPA) is believed to be the critical virulence factor of the disease. All type A isolates have the potential to produce CPA, thus we challenged birds with numerous type A isolates that are virulent in other animal hosts. However, we found that they did not produce necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens. In addition, challenge with culture supernatant alone failed to produce gross lesions in the birds, although challenging with washed whole cell cultures did do so. Vaccinating birds with HIS-tagged recombinant CPA provided partial protection against disease; there was a 42.0% decrease in lesion development. The conclusion of this doctoral research is that CPA does have a role in the pathogenesis of necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens, but there are apparently other critical virulence factors involved in the development of disease.