Effect of vitamin E levels on the cell-mediated immunity of broilers vaccinated against coccidiosis

ICM da Silva AML Ribeiro CW Canal MM Vieira CC Pinheiro T Gonçalves ML de Moraes VS Ledur About the authors

Studies on the relationships between animal nutrition and immunity have sought reliable methodologies to measure responses. Cell-mediated immune response is similarly studied in humans. The cutaneous basophil hypersensitivity test (CBH) is one of the methods to measure that response and consists in the infiltration of inflammatory cells, particularly of lymphocytes and basophils, as result of the application of substances capable of inducing cell proliferation in determined sites, such as wings, wattle, and interdigital space in birds. CBH is considered a simple and fast method and can be applied in birds of different ages. In immunocompetence studies with poultry, phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P) is a commonly used substance, despite the variability of the response related to the method of application (intradermal injection) and the antigens used. In the present experiment, PHA-P was used to observe the cell-mediated immune response of 216 chicks fed three dietary levels of vitamin E from 1 to 36 days of age. All birds were immunologically challenged by vaccination against coccidiosis at three days of age and against Newcastle Disease (NCD) at 14 and 30 days of age. At 36 days of age, birds were submitted to the CBH test according to the methodology of Corrier & DeLoach (1990). Birds fed 65mg/kg of vitamin E presented lasting cell reaction (p<0.08), which indicates that this vitamin E level improved cell immune response of birds due to its antioxidant and immunomodulating properties. The use of this vitamin E level can be considered by nutritionists under practical conditions, aiming to improve broiler immunity.

Broiler; coccidiosis; cell-mediated immune response; Newcastle disease; vaccine; vitamin E

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