Effects of subchronic exposure of mercuric chloride on intestinal histology and microbiota in the cecum of chicken.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2020; 188:109920EE
This study aimed to investigate the influences of mercuric chloride (HgCl2, 250 ppm, drink water) on the growth performance, cecal morphology and microbiota of chickens (n = 60) after 30, 60, and 90 days of exposure. A control group of sixty chickens received water free of HgCl2. Our results suggested that mercury exposure reduced the body weight and changed the cecal morphology of chickens after the 90-day treatment. Furthermore, sequence analysis of 16 S rRNA gene revealed that the diversity and composition of cecal microbiota in chickens differed between the control and exposure group. At the phylum level, Proteobacteria and Tenericutes phyla both significantly increased in mercury exposure groups on day 30 while only Tenericutes phyla significantly increased on day 60. At the genus level, we observed that the change in microbial populations are most dramatic on day 30. Besides, compared with the control group, the genus Prevotellaceae_UCG-001 significantly increased in exposure group on day 30 but showed no significant difference on day 60, whereas there was a significant decrease on day 90. PICRUSt analysis revealed potential metabolic changes, such as Bacterial invasion of epithelial cells and Metabolism of xenobiotics, associated with mercury exposure in chickens. Taken together, the data show that subchronic exposure to mercury not only affected the growth and development but also caused the dysbiosis of gut microbiota, which may further induced metabolic disorders in chickens.