Parasitology Research

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 101–106 | Cite as

Protective effect of Azadirachta indica extract against Eimeria papillata-induced coccidiosis

  • Mohamed A. DkhilEmail author
  • Saleh Al-Quraishy
  • Ahmed E. Abdel Moneim
  • Denis Delic
Original Paper


Coccidiosis in poultry is caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Eimeria, which is responsible for worldwide economic losses. The methanolic extract of Azadirachta indica (neem) leaves was used in vivo for its pharmacological, antioxidant, and anticoccidial properties. Four groups of mice were investigated. The first group was inoculated only with sterile saline and served as the control group. The second group was treated by oral gavage with neem extract (500 mg/kg) daily for 4 days. The third and fourth groups were infected with 103 sporulated oocysts of Eimeria papillata. The fourth group was also treated once daily with neem extract for 4 days. Paraffin sections from the jejunum as well as jejunal homogenate were prepared for the histopathological and biochemical investigations, respectively. The data showed that mice infected with E. papillata revealed an output of 6.5 × 105 ± 29,753 oocysts per gram feces on day 4 postinoculation. This output is significantly decreased to 2.7 × 105 ± 37,341 oocysts in neem-treated mice. Infection with E. papillata induced marked histopathological alterations in the jejunum in the form of inflammation, vacuolation of the epithelium, and destruction of some villi. Also, the neem extract greatly diminished body weight loss of infected mice. Moreover, the number of goblet cells stained with Alcian blue within the infected villi was significantly lowered (P ≤ 0.05). In addition, E. papillata enhanced lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide production in both serum and jejunum with concomitant reduction in glutathione. Neem induced marked improvements in all of the studied parameters as well as the histopathological features of the jejunum. Our study revealed that neem as a natural product has protective effects against E. papillata-induced coccidiosis.


Nitric Oxide Goblet Cell Alcian Blue Azadirachtin Coccidiosis 
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The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding the work through the research group project no. RGP-VPP-198.

Supplementary material

436_2012_3109_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (34 kb)
Figure S1 Unsporulated (a) and sporulated (b) oocyst of E. papillata. OM outer membrane, IM inner membrane, SPW sporoblast wall, SP sporoblast, Sc sporocyst, Scw sporocyst wall, RB residual body. (JPEG 33 kb)
436_2012_3109_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (596 kb)
Figure S2 Sections of mouse jejunum infected with E. papillata on day 4 p.i. a Noninfected jejunum with normal architecture. b Noninfected treated mouse jejunum with normal structure. c Infected jejunum with some pathological changes and developmental stages appearing in the inner epithelium. d Infected treated mouse with less parasites. Sections are stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Bar = 25 μm (JPEG 595 kb)
436_2012_3109_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (473 kb)
Figure S3 Changes in goblet cell numbers in mouse jejunum infected with E. papillata on day 4 p.i. a Noninfected jejunum, b noninfected treated mouse jejunum, c infected jejunum with decreased number of goblet cells, d infected treated mouse. Sections are stained with Alcian blue. Bar = 25 μm (JPEG 472 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed A. Dkhil
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Saleh Al-Quraishy
    • 1
  • Ahmed E. Abdel Moneim
    • 2
  • Denis Delic
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Entomology, Faculty of ScienceHelwan UniversityCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Neurological ResearchCologneGermany

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