Effect of Chitosan on Nitric Oxide Content and Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity in Serum and Expression of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase mRNA in Small Intestine of Broiler Chickens

  • Li, H.Y. (College of Animal Science and Veterinary Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University) ;
  • Yan, S.M. (College of Animal Science and Veterinary Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University) ;
  • Shi, B.L. (College of Animal Science and Veterinary Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University) ;
  • Guo, X.Y. (College of Animal Science and Veterinary Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2008.12.26
  • Accepted : 2008.03.18
  • Published : 2009.07.01


The present study was conducted to determine the effects of chitosan on nitric oxide (NO) content and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity in serum, and relative expression of iNOS mRNA in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum of broiler chickens. A total of 240 one-day-old Arbor Acre mixed-sex broiler chickens were randomly allotted to six dietary treatments with five replicates in each treatment and eight chickens in each replicate. The broiler chickens in the six treatments were fed the basal diet supplemented with 0 (control), 0.05, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg chitosan. The trial lasted for 42 days. The results showed that dietary chitosan enhanced NO content and iNOS activity in serum as well as iNOS mRNA expression in the duodenum and ileum of broiler chickens in a quadratic dose-dependent manner (p<0.05), and improved jejunum iNOS mRNA expression in a quadratic dose-dependent manner (p<0.10) with increasing addition of chitosan. Chicks fed a diet containing 0.5-1.0 g/kg chitosan had higher NO content and iNOS activity in serum as well as small-intestinal iNOS mRNA expression compared with birds given the control diet, but positive effects of chitosan tended to be suppressed when addition of chitosan in the diet was increased to 2.0 g/kg. These results implied that there was a threshold level of chitosan inclusion beyond which progressive reductions in serum NO content and small intestinal iNOS expression occured, and the regulation of chitosan on immune functions in chickens is probably associated with activated expression of iNOS and NO secretion.


Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation


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