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Immunology and Infection

Prevention of Heat Stress Adverse Effects in Rats by Bacillus subtilis Strain

Published: July 11th, 2016



1Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, Auburn University

We described a protocol for prevention of heat stress effects in rats by oral pre-treatment with beneficial bacteria. This protocol can be modified and used for various routes of administration and for analysis of different compounds.

This study was designed to evaluate the protective effect of the Bacillus subtilis strain against complications related to heat stress. Thirty-two Sprague-Dawley rats were used in this study. Animals were orally treated twice a day for two days with B. subtilis BSB3 strain or PBS. The next day after the last treatment, each group was divided and two experimental groups (one treated with PBS and one treated with B. subtilis) were placed at 45 oC for 25 min. Two control groups stayed for 25 min at room temperature. All rats were euthanized and different parameters were analyzed in all groups. Adverse effects of heat stress are registered by the decrease of villi height and total mucosal thickness in the intestinal epithelium; translocation of bacteria from the lumen; increased vesiculation of erythrocytes and elevation of the lipopolysaccharides (LPS) level in the blood. The protective efficacy of treatment is evaluated by prevention of these side effects. The protocol was set up for the oral treatment of rats with bacteria for prevention of heat stress complications, but this protocol can be modified and used for other routes of administration and for analysis of different compounds.

Different stressors affect human and animal health. Temperature is one of the most stressful factors, causing chronic, acute and even lethal illnesses1. Changes in intestinal morphology and a loss of gut barrier integrity after heat stress were documented in many cases2,3. This protective barrier is responsible for defense against translocation of gut bacteria and their toxins, in particular lipopolysaccharides (LPS), from the lumen to the internal circulation4,5. Stability of the gut microbiota significantly influences intestinal barrier function, the immune response of the host, and tolerance to stress conditions6. Thus, m....

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All experimental procedures were approved by IACUC of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

1. Preparation of Culture Media, Dishes and Bacterial Culture

  1. Inoculate 10 ml of nutrient broth in a flask with a single colony of Bacillus subtilis BSB3 culture, grown overnight on a nutrient agar plate.
  2. Make 500 ml of sporulation medium19 (per liter: Bacto Nutrient Broth, 8 g; 10% (w/v) KCl, 10 ml; 1.2% (w/v) MgSO4 x 7H2O, 10 ml; agar, 15 g) and autoclave at 12.......

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The mean body temperature of animals before and immediately after heat stress was 36.7 ± 0.07 oC and 40.3 ± 0.17 oC, respectively (P < 0.05). Exposure of rats to heat (group 3) resulted in significant inhibition of villi height and total mucosal thickness (Figures 2, 3). Oral administration of BSB3 strain before stress protected intestine from the harmful effect of heat.


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Exposure to high temperature results in serious health conditions29. Prevention and early detection of complications related to heat stress are of vital importance30. The presented protocol can be used to evaluate the efficacy of various approaches for the prevention of heat stress adverse effects.

Critical steps within this protocol include: the heat treatment procedure (45 oC, 25 min); the usage of apyrogenic materials during collection and p.......

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This work was supported by the Auburn University fund FOP 101002-139294-2050.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Phosphate buffered saline (PBS) Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO P4417
Ethyl Alcohol  Pharmco products Inc. Brookfield, CT, USA  64-17-5
Agar VWR 97064-334
MacConkey agar plates VWR 470180-742
5% blood agar plates VWR 89405-024
Brucella blood with Hemin, and Vitamin K,
VWR 89405-032
Bouin’s Fixative Electron Microscopy Sciences, Hatfield, PA, USA 15990
IL-10 Rat ELISA kit Invitrogen, Camarillo, CA, USA KRC0101
IL-1beta Rat ELISA Kit Invitrogen, Camarillo, CA, USA KRC0011
IL-6 Rat ELISA Kit Invitrogen, Camarillo, CA, USA KRC0061
INF-gamma Rat ELISA Kit Invitrogen, Camarillo, CA, USA KRC4021
TNF-alpha Rat ELISA Kit Invitrogen, Camarillo, CA, USA KRC3011
Rat LPS ELISA Kit NeoBioLab, MA, USA RL0275
Environmental Chamber 6020-1 Caron, Marietta, OH, USA 6020-1
Centrifuge  Beckman Coulter, Indianapolis, IN, USA Optima L-90K
Ultra Centrifuge
Light microscope optical system CitoViva Technology Inc., Auburn, AL
Colony counter Fisher Scientific , Pittsburgh, PA, USA RE-3325
Freezer Haier, Brooklyn, NY, USA HCMO50LA
Ultra microplate reader Bio-Tek Instrument, Winooski, VT, USA ELx 808
Auto Strip Washer Bio-Tek Instrument, Winooski, VT, USA ELx50
Pipettes Gilson, Pipetman, France P100, P200, P1000
C24 Incubator Shaker New Brunswick Scientific, Enfield, CT, USA Classic C24
Rocking Shaker  Reliable Scientific, Inc., Nesbit, MS, USA 55
Petri dishes Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 875713 100mmX15mm
SterilGard III Advance The Baker Company, Sanford, ME, USA SG403
Culture Growing Flasks Corning Incorporated, Corning, NY, USA 4995 PYREX 250mL Erlenmeyer flasks
Optical Spectrometer Genesys 20 Thermo Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA. 4001
Sony DXC-33 Video camera Sony
Richardson test slide Electron Microscopy Science, Hatfield, PA, USA 80303
Millipore water purification system Millipore Direct-Q
Image-Pro Plus software Media Cybernetics, MD, USA
Triple Beam Balance OHAUS Corporation, Parsippany, NJ, USA
Tissue Homogenizer, Dounce VWR 71000-518

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