Heat Stress Modulates Brain Monoamines and Their Metabolites Production in Broiler Chickens Co-Infected with Clostridium perfringens Type A and Eimeria spp.
Heat stress has been related to the impairment of behavioral and immunological parameters in broiler chickens. However, the literature is not clear on the involvement of neuroimmune interactions in a heat stress situation associated with bacterial and parasitic infections. The present study evaluated the production of monoamines and their metabolites in brain regions (rostral pallium, hypothalamus, brain stem, and midbrain) in broiler chickens submitted to chronic heat stress and/or infection and co-infection with Eimeria spp. and Clostridium perfringens type A. The heat stress and avian necrotic enteritis (NE) modulated the neurochemical profile of monoamines in different areas of the central nervous system, in particular, those related to the activity of the hypothalamus-hypophysis-adrenal (HPA) axis that is responsible for sickness behavior. C. perfringens and/or Eimeria infection, heat stress increased 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), 4,4 dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), and DOPAC/dopamine (DA) in the rostral pallium; 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol (MHPG), homovanillic acid (HVA), HVA/DA, DOPAC/DA, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)/5-HT in the hypothalamus; MHPG, 5-HIAA/5-HT, DOPAC/DA, and HVA/DA in the midbrain; and MHPG, DOPAC, HVA, HVA/DA, DOPAC/DA, and 5-HIAA/5-HT in the brainstem. Heat stress decreased noradrenaline + norepinephrine (NOR + AD) in all brain regions analyzed; 5-HT in the hypothalamus, midbrain, and brainstem; and DA in the midbrain. The results also showed the existence and activity of the brain-gut axis in broiler chickens. The brain neurochemical profile and corticosterone production are consistent with those observed in chronic stressed mammals, in animals with sickness behavior, and an overloading of the HPA axis.