Neurochemical Pathway Explored as Treatment for Salmonella in Poultry

Recognizing that poultry products are the primary route for human exposure to the foodborne disease Salmonella, researchers at Iowa State University are exploring the link between poultry immune and nervous systems as a potential treatment. They found that treating chickens with the drug Reserpine triggers intestinal cells to release a neurochemical called norepinephrine that activates an antimicrobial immune response that significantly reduces salmonella bacteria. “Using this approach is really about stimulating the host’s ability to fight the infection on its own and solve the problem at its source,” explained study leader Melha Mellata. The researchers say their research offers a model that could be effective with other drugs and to treat other animal species that are reservoirs for food pathogens.