Role of probiotics on immune function and their relationship to antibiotic growth promoters in poultry, a brief review Academic Article uri icon


  • Copyright 2016 by New Century Health Publishers, LLC Antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) are well documented to play an important role in the feed efficiency of poultry. However, recent regulations and consumer demand are globally decreasing their use, resulting in a surge of research focused on the search for replacement compounds and probiotics in order to maintain current levels of performance in poultry. However, unless the mechanisms by which AGP modulate growth and feed conversion in animals are well understood, scientists and producers will struggle to find successful alternatives. This review discusses possible mechanisms of action of AGP on the host, rather than direct anti-microbial effects on gastrointestinal microflora, and the possible roll that probiotics may play decreasing gastrointestinal inflammatory responses. For example, some probiotics may be able to decrease colonization by pathogens that exploit inflammation to enhance colonization by decreasing innate inflammatory responses, including macrophage activation phenotypes. Probiotics are also well documented to increase modulation of adaptive immunity. These findings suggest nuanced strain-specific immune interactions in regards to probiotic cultures and the need for proper characterization of each microbial strain for its abilities to enhance protection against pathogenic insult and maintain health and homeostasis via immunomodulation of the enteric and systemic environments to enhance growth performance and health.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Probiotics and Prebiotics

author list (cited authors)

  • Vuong, C. N., Chou, W. K., Hargis, B. M., Berghman, L. R., & Bielke, L. R.

complete list of authors

  • Vuong, CN||Chou, WK||Hargis, BM||Berghman, LR||Bielke, LR

publication date

  • February 2016