Environmental particles enter the chicken via several routes. Entry via the respiratory and cloacal routes likely activates immune responses. We studied the localization of simultaneous intratracheally and cloacally applied beads of 2 sizes in the chicken body in time, and when possible, semiquantified the amount of beads. Ten broiler hens, 3.5 wk of age, received 1.25 × 109 1.0-µm beads and 1.05 × 107 10-µm fluorescein isothiocyanate (green) labeled cloacally, and simultaneously the same number and same sizes of tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate (red) labeled beads intratracheally. The bursa of Fabricius, lung, liver, kidney, gallbladder, spleen, thymus, small intestine (upper ileum), cecum, intestinal luminal contents, aerated bones, feces, and blood, from 2 chickens per moment were sampled at 1 h, 6 h, 24 h, 48 h, and 1 wk after challenge and studied for the presence of beads using fluorescence microscopy. The highest amount of beads was found in organs closest to the application site after 1 h (i.e., the lungs for red beads, and the bursa for green beads). All tissue samples showed all 4 types of beads at all time moments, most of them within 1 h. Lower levels of beads were found in lungs and bursa after 6 h and in all other organs after 24 h, except for the kidneys where levels declined after 48 h. Surprisingly, beads were found in thymus tissue and only relatively few beads were found in the spleen. At 1 h, 1-µm intratracheally applied red beads were also found in the cecal luminal content and cecal tissue, but not in the small intestinal luminal content, suggesting that ceca are capable of excreting small particles entering the body via the respiratory route. The presence of nondegradable and nonimmunogenic beads of different sizes in all sampled organs throughout the whole chicken body for 7 d suggested potentially negative chronic health and welfare risks for the chicken of environmental particles.
- environmental antigens