Relationship between Eimeria tenella associated-early clinical signs and molecular changes in the intestinal barrier function

Hung Hoang Son Pham, Makoto Matsubayashi, Naotoshi Tsuji, Toshimitsu Hatabu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The major clinical signs of coccidiosis in chickens due to Eimeria parasite are diarrhea and bloody feces. Previous studies showed that the impairment of the intestinal epithelial barrier and the elevation of the intestinal permeability are causes of clinical signs associated with coccidia challenges. Nevertheless, the information about molecular changes of the epithelial barrier at the early stage of the infection with a specific Eimeria species has not been mentioned. Hence, this study aims to elucidate the temporal relationships between epithelial barrier conditions and clinical signs in chickens infected with Eimeria tenella over the time from the earliest stages of infection. White Leghorn chickens were inoculated with 1 × 104 oocysts of E. tenella. Thereafter the chickens were monitored for their daily clinical signs through observation, and between 5 dpi to 10 dpi, feces were collected for oocysts counting. Chickens were then administrated with fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran (FITC-d) for gastrointestinal permeability test and tissues were collected each day for histopathological observation and total RNA extraction. Finally, the mRNA expression levels of the tight and adherens junction genes and cytokine genes were evaluated using the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). In this study, clinical signs such as diarrhea and bloody feces were observed concurrently from 3 to 8 dpi. Histopathology changes such as severe inflammation, hemorrhage, and epithelial desquamation were identified in the cecum specimens. The FITC-d level in the E. tenella-infected group was significantly higher than in the control group. In the infected group, the expression of claudin-2 gene was also upregulated, whereas the expressions of claudin-3 and E-cadherin genes were decreased as compared to the control group. These results implied that clinical signs of avian coccidiosis were associated with the intestinal barrier disruption via changes in expression levels of claudins and E-cadherin at the intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110321
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Adherens junction
  • Bloody feces
  • Diarrhea
  • Eimeria tenella
  • Epithelial barrier
  • Tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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