Evaluation of morphological changes in small intestines of broiler chicks fed with different levels of glutamine in pre-starter diet on post-hatch period


1 Department of Animals Sciences, Faculty of Agronomy Sciences, college of agriculture and Natural researches University of Tehran, Karaj- Iran

2 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran-Iran


BACKGROUND: Glutamine supplementation to the pre-starter diet of broiler chicks could improve their performance during the first week of post-hatch. OBJECTIVES: This experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of glutamine levels in the pre-starter diet on intestinal mucosa morphology and performance of broiler chicks. METHOD: A total of 160 Ross 308, one-day old broilers were used in a complete randomized block design with 3 treatments of 5 replicates. Diets were formulated to contain different levels of glutamine (0, 0.5 and 1%). Body weight and feed intake were measured at 6 and 13d. On d 0, 3, 6 and 13 post hatch, 2 birds per each replicate were weighted and killed, and samples of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were taken subsequently. RESULTS: Supplementation of diets with 1% glutamine improved growth performance and feed efficiency at 6 and 13 day post hatch (p<0.05). On d 3 and 6, glutamine supplementation increased villi height and width in the small intestinal significantly (p<0.05). On d 13, chicks fed glutamine added diet had a longer villi height and width than those fed the basal diet (p<0.05). Glutamine supplementation has also decreased crypt depth of jejunum and ileum at 3, 6 and 13, but increased crypt depth in duodenum at 3 and 6 d of age (p<0.05). Increase in glutamine levels of pre-starter diet increased villi height relative crypt depth of jejunum and ileum at 3 and 6 d of age. On d 13, chicks fed diet contain 1% glutamine had a higher villi height relative crypt depth than those fed the basal diet. CONCLUSIONS: Addition of 1% glutamine to the pre-starter diets improved broiler growth performance and resulted in better development of the intestinal mucosa in broiler chicks.


Applegate, T.J., Dibner, J.J., Kitchell, M.L., Uni, Z., Lilburn, M.S. (1999) Effect of turkey (Meleagridis gallopavo) breeder hen age and egg size on poult development Intestinal villus growth, enterocyte migration and proliferation of the turkey poult. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 124: 381-389.##
Bartell, S.M., Batal, A.B. (2007) The Effect of Supplemental Glutamine on Growth Performance, Development of the Gastrointestinal Tract, and Humoral Immune Response of Broilers Pout Sci. 86: 1940-1947.##
Batal, A.B., Parsons, C.M. (2002) Effects of age on nutrient digestibility in chicks fed different diets. Poult Sci. 81 :400-407.##
Bird, A.R., Croom, W.J., Fan, Y.K., Daniel, L.R., Black, B.L., McBride, B.W., Eisen, E.J., Bull, L.S, Taylor, I.L. (1994) Jejunal glucose absorption is enhanced by epidermal growth factor in mice. J Nutr. 124: 231-240.##
Cheng, H. (1974) Origin, differentiation and renewal of the four main epithelial cell types in the mouse small intestine. II. Mucous cells. Am J Anat. 141: 481-501.##
Cheng, H., Leblond, C.P. (1974) Origin, differentiation and renewal of the four main epithelial cells in the mouse small intestine. IV. Unitarian theory of the origin of the four epithelial cell types. Am J Anat. 141: 537-561.##
Dai, S.F., Wang, L.K., Wen, A.Y., Wang, L.X., Jin, G.M. (2009) Dietary glutamine supplementation improves growth performance, meat quality and colour stability of broilers under heat stress. Br Poult Sci. 50: 333-240.##
Fischer da Silva, A.V., Majorka, A., Borges, S.A, Santin, E., Boleli, I.C., Macari, M. (2007) Surface area of the tip of the enterocytes in small intestine mucosa of broilers submitted to early feed restriction and supplemented with glutamine. Inter J Poult Sci. 6: 31-35.##
Forstner, J.F., Forstner, G.G. (1994) Gastrointestinal mucus. In: Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract. Leonard, P., Johnson, R. (eds.). (3rd ed.) Raven Press, New York. p.1255-1283.##
Hersom, M.J., Krehbiel, C.R., Horn, G.W. (2004) Effect of live weight gain of steers during winter grazing: II. Visceral organ mass, cellularity, and oxygen consumption. J Anim Sci. 82: 184-197.##
Kelly, D., Smith. J.A., McCracken, K.J. (1991) Digestive development of the early-weaned pig. Effect of continuous nutrient supply on the development of the digestive tract and on changes in digestive enzyme activity during the first week post-weaning. Br J Nutr. 65: 169-180.##
Kitt, S.J., Miller, P.S., Lewis, A.J., Fischer, R.L. (2002) Effects of Glutamine on Growth Performance and Small Intestine Villus Height in Weanling Pigs. In Nebraska Swine Rep. University. Nebraska, Lincoln.##
Lilja, C. (1983) A comparative study of postnatal growth and organ development in some species of birds. Growth. 47: 317-339.##
Maiorka, A., Santin, E., Dahlke, F., Boleli, I.C., Furlan, R.L., Macari, M. (2003) Post hatching water and feed deprivation affect the gastrointestinal tract and intestinal mucosa development of broiler chicks. J Appl Poult Res. 12: 483-492.##
Maiorka, A., Santin, E., Fischer, da. Silva., Bruno, L.D.G., Boleli, I.C., Macari, M. (2000) Influence of broiler breeders age (30 and 60 weeks) on embryonic gastrointestinal development. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola. 2: 141-148. ##
Maiorka, A., Dahlke, F.M., Morgulis, S.F.D.A. (2006) Broiler adaptation to post-hatching period. Ciência Rural, Santa Maria. 36: 701-708.##
Mcbride, B.W., Kelly, J.M. (1990) Energy cost of absorption and metabolism in the ruminant gastrointestinal tract and liver: a review. J Anim Sci. 68: 2997-3010.##
Murakami, A.E., Sakamoto, M.I., Natali, M.R. M., Souza, L.M.G., Franco, J.R.G. (2007) Supplementation of glutamine and vitamin E on the morphometry of the intestinal mucosa in broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 86: 488-495.##
National Research Council (1994) Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. (9th ed.) Washington (DC): National Academy Press. USA. 155p.##
Newsholme, P. (2001) Why is L-Glutamine metabolism important to cells of the immune system in health, post injury, surgery or infection?. J Nutr. 131: 2515S-2522S.##
Nir, I., Nitsan, Z., Mahagna, M. (1993) Comparative growth and development of the digestive organs and some enzymes in the broiler chicks and egg type chicks after hatching. Br Poult Sci.  34: 523-532. ##
Noy, Y., Sklan, D. (1995) Digestion and absorption in the young chick. Poult Sci. 74: 366-373.##
Overton, J., Shoup, J. (1964) Fine structure of cell surface specializations in the maturing duodenal mucosa of the chick. J Cell Biology. 21: 75-82.##
Pluske, J.R., Hampson, D.J., Williams. I.H. (1997) Factors influencing the structure and function of the small intestine in the weaned pig - a review. Livestock Prod Sci. 51: 215- 236.
Powell, J.J., Jugdaohsingh, R., Thompson, R.P.H. (1999) The regulation of mineral absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Proc Nutr Soc. 58: 147-153.##
Reeds, P.J., Burrin, D.G. (2001) Glutamine and the bowel. J Nutr. 131: 2505S-2508S.##
Ruemmele, F.M., Ruemmele, C., Levy, E., Seidman, E. (1999) Les me´canismes mole´culaires de la re´gulation du renouvellement de cellules e´pithe´liales intestinales par des nutriments. Gast Clin Biol. 23: 47-55.##
Sklan, D., Noy, Y. (2000) Hydrolysis and absorption in the small intestines of post hatch chicks. Poult Sci. 79: 1306-1310.##
Soltan, M.A. (2009) Influence of dietary glutamine supplementation on growth performance, small intestinal morphology, immune response and some blood parameters of broiler chickens. Int J Poul Sci. 8: 60-68.##
Uni, Z., Smirnov, A., Sklan, D. (2003) Pre- and post-hatch development of goblet cells in the broiler small intestine: effect of delayed access to feed. Poult Sci. 82: 320-327##
Uni, Z., Noy, Y., Sklan, D. (1999) Posthatch development of small intestinal function in the poult. Poult Sci. 78: 215-222.##
Yi, G.F., Allee, G.L., Frank, J.W., Spencer, J.D., Touchette, K.J. (2001) Impact of glutamine menhaden fish meal and ##spray-dried plasma on the growth and intestinal morphology of broilers. Poult Sci. 80, Suppl. 1 (Abstract): 201.##