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J Anim Sci. 2000 Oct;78(10):2731-6.

Evaluation of ewe and lamb immune response when ewes were supplemented with vitamin E.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717-2900, USA.


Fifty-two Targhee twin-bearing ewes were used in a factorial arrangement of treatments to investigate the role of supplemental vitamin E (vit E); 0 (NE) vs 400 IU of vit E x ewe x (-1)d(-1) (E) and parainfluenza type 3 (PI3) vaccination; none (NP) vs PI3 vaccination (P) in immune function. Parainfluenza type 3 vaccination was used to evoke an immune response. Ewes receiving PI3 were vaccinated at 49 and 21 d before the expected lambing date. Ewes receiving vit E were orally dosed daily, 32 to 0 d before lambing. Blood was collected from ewes at the time of the initial PI3 vaccination and 4 h postpartum. Blood was collected from lambs (n = 104) at 3 d postpartum. Ewe and lamb sera were analyzed for anti-PI3 antibody titers, immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers, and vit E concentrations. Colostrum was collected 4 h postpartum and analyzed for IgG. The model for ewe and lamb analysis included the main effects of vit E and PI3, sex (lambs model only), and their interactions. No interactions were detected (P > 0.20) for any ewe or lamb variables. Serum anti-PI3 titers were greater (P < 0.01) in P ewes and their lambs than NP ewes and their lambs. Serum vit E concentrations were greater (P < 0.01) in E ewes and their lambs than NE ewes and their lambs. Colostral IgG titers and serum anti-PI3 titers did not differ (P > 0.20) between E and NE ewes. Serum IgG titers in E ewes and their lambs did not differ (P > 0.15) from IgG titers in NE ewes and their lambs. Lamb anti-PI3 titers did not differ (P = 0.76) between lambs reared by E and NE ewes. These results indicate that, although supplemental vit E to the ewe increased lamb serum vit E concentration, it had no effect on measures used in this study to assess humoral immunity in the ewe or passive immunity to the lamb.

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