Article ID: 13-0045
Antibiotics continue to be used as growth promoters in the poultry industry. Honeybee (Apis melifera) venom (HBV) possesses a number of beneficial biological activities, particularly for regulating the immune system. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the immunoprophylactic effects of HBV against Salmonella Gallinarum in broiler chicks as an initial step towards developing eco-friendly alternatives to reduce antibiotic use. HBV was administered using a spray technique. HBV improved body weight gain, particularly in the presence of infection. Moreover, HBV enhanced antibody production activity against formalin-killed S. Gallinarum. The CD4+:CD8+ T lymphocyte ratio, relative mRNA expression levels of interleukin-18 and interferon-γ, and serum lysozyme activity also increased following HBV administration before the infection period as well as during infection. HBV reinforced bacterial clearance and increased survivability against S. Gallinarum. Corresponding pathological analyses demonstrated that the HBV-sprayed group displayed mild and less severe abnormal changes compared with those in the control group. It was presumed that the prophylactic effects of HBV against S. Gallinarum were associated with its non-specific immune response stimulating activity. Thus, HBV may provide an alternative to reduce antibiotic use in the poultry industry.