Poultry Science (Jun 2021)

Research Note: Modified serum fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran (FITC-d) assay procedure to determine intestinal permeability in poultry fed diets high in natural or synthetic pigments

  • Christine N. Vuong,
  • Garrett J. Mullenix,
  • Michael T. Kidd,
  • Walter G. Bottje,
  • Billy M. Hargis,
  • Guillermo Tellez-Isaias

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 100, no. 6
p. 101138


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ABSTRACT: Oral administration of fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran (FITC-d) has been used as an indicator for intestinal permeability in poultry research for several years. Under healthy conditions, tight junctions in the intestinal wall will not allow the 4-6kDa FITC-d to enter the bloodstream. Detection of FITC-d in serum (1-hour post-oral administration of FITC-d) has proven to be a reliable indicator of leaky gut syndrome (increased intestinal inflammation and disruption of tight junctions). Administration of supplementary phytobiotics in feed, particularly products with high beta-carotene levels or other pigments, has resulted in strong serum background fluorescence, which can render this assay unreliable. To account for this increase in background autofluorescence, the FITC-d assay procedure has been modified to accommodate these particular serum samples by including pre-administration serum collection from each treatment group to remove background fluorescence. The modified FITC-d procedure detailed will allow for analysis of intestinal permeability in pigmented serum.