Ammonia is a well-known toxicant both existing in atmospheric and aquatic system. So far, most studies of ammonia toxicity focused on mammals or aquatic animals. With the development of poultry industry, ammonia as a main source of contaminant in the air is causing more and more problems on broiler production, especially lower growth rate. The molecular mechanisms that underlie the negative effects of ammonia on the growth and intestine of broilers are yet unclear. We investigated the growth, gut morphology, and mucosal proteome of Arbor Acres broilers ( Gallus gallus) exposed to high concentrations of atmospheric ammonia by performing a proteomics approach integrated with traditional methods.
Exposure to ammonia interfered with the development of immune organ and gut villi. Meanwhile, it greatly reduced daily weight gain and feed intake, and enhanced feed conversion ratio. A total of 43 intestinal mucosal proteins were found to be differentially abundant. Up-regulated proteins are related to oxidative phosphorylation and apoptosis. Down-regulated proteins are related to cell structure and growth, transcriptional and translational regulation, immune response, oxidative stress and nutrient metabolism. These results indicated that exposure to ammonia triggered oxidative stress, and interfered with nutrient absorption and immune function in the small intestinal mucosa of broilers.
These findings have important implications for understanding the toxic mechanisms of ammonia on intestine of broilers, which provides new information that can be used for intervention using nutritional strategies in the future.