Malabsorption syndrome in broilers

J.M.J. Rebel, F.R.M. Balk, J. Post, S. van Hemert, B. Zekarias, N. Stockhofe

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Malabsorption syndrome (MAS) is a multifactorial disease that causes intestinal disorders in broilers due to infection of the gastrointestinal tract with different infectious agents. The exact aetiology is unknown, although several viruses are isolated from MAS affected chickens. None of these isolated infectious agents alone inducted the malabsorption syndrome. MAS in broilers is characterised by poor growth and lesions in the Gl-tract, mainly in the small intestine. Experimentally, MAS can be induced in one-day old broilers by oral inoculation of homogenates obtained from digestive tract tissues of MAS affected broilers. Susceptibility to the MAS syndrome differs between broiler lines. The susceptibility to MAS is correlated with the severity of the lesions, apoptosis and heterophil infiltration of the jejunum. Susceptibility to MAS is also related to the frequency of CD4 and CDS positive T-cells in the intestinal villus and the mRNA expression level of different cytokines in control and in MAS induced broilers. With the use of micro-arrays differences in gene expression levels between broiler lines that differ in MAS susceptibility were observed. From these experiments genes that are immune and food absorption related were identified. If some of these genes or the T-cell population in the gut and the other MAS susceptible related parameters could predict or prevent MAS susceptibility in broilers needs to be further investigated but can be interestingly for breeding programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-31
JournalWorlds Poultry Science Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • infectious stunting syndrome
  • german avian reoviruses
  • long-term selection
  • high growth-rate
  • epithelial-cells
  • gene-expression
  • small-intestine
  • mareks-disease
  • intraepithelial lymphocytes
  • experimental reproduction


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