Abstract: Robust and balanced gut microbiota are required to support health and growth. Overgrowth of gut microbial or pathogens can change ecosystem balance, and compromise gut integrity to initiate gastrointestinal (GI) complications. There is no safe and effective modality against coccidiosis. Antibiotic additives routinely fed to food animals to protect against infection, are entered into the food chain, contaminate food products and pass to the consumers. Hypothesis: induced aberrant organisms possess distinct ultrastructure and are tolerated by immunodeficient-animals yet are non-pathogenic, but immunogenic in various strains of chicks to act as a preventive (vaccine) and eliminating the needs for antibiotic additives. Methods: cyclophosphamide-immunodeficient and immune-intact-chicks were inoculated with induced aberrant or normal Coccidal-organisms. Immune-intact-chicks were immunized with escalating-doses of organisms. Results: Aberrant organisms showed distinct ultrastructure with 8-free-sporozoites which lacked sporocysts walls and veils. Immunodeficient-chicks inoculated with normal-organisms developed severe GI complications but tolerated aberrant-organisms (p < 0.001) while they had no detectable antibodies. Naïve-animals challenged with a pathogenic-dose showed GI complications, bloody diarrhea, severe lesions and weight loss. Immune-intact-animals immunized with aberrant forms were protected against high dose normal-pathogenic-challenge infection and gained more weight compared to those immunized with normal-organisms (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Aberrant organisms possess a distinct ultrastructure and are tolerated in immunodeficient-chicks, yet provide novel immune-protection against pathogenic challenges including diarrhea, malnutrition and weight loss in immune-intact-animals to warrant further investigations toward vaccine production.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Nutrients, v. 9, issue 8, 864, p. 1-13.

© 2017 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The investigation was supported partially by the National Institutes of Health NCCAM-AT1490 (HO).

Included in

Physiology Commons