ABSTRACT: The aim of the present experiment was to investigate the effects of feeding grains naturally contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins on morphometric indices of jejunum and to follow the passage of deoxynivalenol (DON) through subsequent segments of the digestive tract of broilers. A total of 45 1-d-old broiler chickens (Ross 308 males) were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments (15 birds/treatment): (1) control diet; (2) diet contaminated with 1 mg DON/kg feed; (3) diet contaminated with 5 mg DON/kg feed for five weeks. None of the zootechnical traits (body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion) responded to increased DON levels in the diet. However, DON at both dietary levels (1 mg and 5 mg DON/kg feed) significantly altered the small intestinal morphology. In the jejunum, the villi were significantly (P < 0.01) shorter in both DON treated groups compared with the controls. Furthermore, the dietary inclusion of DON decreased (P < 0.05) the villus surface area in both DON treated groups. The absolute or relative organ weights (liver, heart, proventriculus, gizzard, small intestine, spleen, pancreas, colon, cecum, bursa of Fabricius and thymus) were not altered (P > 0.05) in broilers fed the diet containing DON compared with controls. DON and de-epoxy-DON (DOM-1) were analyzed in serum, bile, liver, feces and digesta from consecutive segments of the digestive tract (gizzard, cecum, and rectum). Concentrations of DON and its metabolite DOM-1 in serum, bile, and liver were lower than the detection limits of the applied liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. Only about 10 to 12% and 6% of the ingested DON was recovered in gizzard and feces, irrespective of the dietary DON-concentration. However, the DON recovery in the cecum as percentage of DON-intake varied between 18 to 22% and was not influenced by dietary DON-concentration. Interestingly, in the present trial, DOM-1 did not appear in the large intestine and in feces. The results indicate that deepoxydation in the present study hardly occurred in the distal segments of the digestive tract, assuming that the complete de-epoxydation occurs in the proximal small intestine where the majority of the parent toxin is absorbed. In conclusion, diets with DON contamination below levels that induce a negative impact on performance could alter small intestinal morphology in broilers. Additionally, the results confirm that the majority of the ingested DON quickly disappears through the gastrointestinal tract.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2011; 12(11):7996-8012. · 2.60 Impact Factor