This study was conducted to determine whether a diet with moderate contamination of Fusarium mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) alters the glucose absorption and whether this might be linked to altered SGLT-1 and GLUT-2 mRNA expression in the small intestine of chickens. Forty-five 1-d-old broiler chickens were randomly assigned into three groups (15 per group, 2-3 birds per pen). The birds in treated groups were fed a diet naturally contaminated with DON (1 and 5 mg/kg). After 5 weeks, one bird per pen from 6 pens was randomly selected from each group to assess glucose transport in small intestinal tissues (Ussing chamber). The mRNA expression of the Na+-dependent glucose transporter SGLT-1 and the facilitative GLUT-2 were assayed by real-time PCR to clarify genomic regulation of glucose transport by DON. The morphology of the jejunal mucosa was also investigated in order to assess nonspecific effects of DON. The results showed that DON significantly inhibited glucose-induced currents in jejunal tissues and decreased the expression of SGLT-1 and GLUT-2 mRNA for both DON-supplemented groups (P<0.01). The mRNA of SGLT-1 was down-regulated in duodenal and jejunal tissues of both DON-supplemented groups (P<0.01). GLUT-2 mRNA was down-regulated only in duodenal tissues for both DON-supplemented groups. Additionally, DON at both concentrations altered the small intestinal morphology by decreasing villi length and the absorptive surface area (P<0.01). We conclude that DON contaminated diet suppresses the mRNA abundance and activity of intestinal glucose transporters in chicken intestine under practically relevant feeding conditions. This further suggests that DON has indeed a specific inhibitory effect on glucose transport in addition to a concurrent decrease of intestinal surface area even at low to moderate dietary concentrations. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.