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Poult Sci. 1997 Jul;76(7):984-91.

Enhancement of humoral and cellular immunity by vitamin E after embryonic exposure.

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Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7608, USA.


In the present study, the amnion of turkey and chicken embryos were injected 3 d prior to hatch with different levels of vitamin E (VE). In Experiments 1 and 2, turkey embryos received 10, 20, and 30 IU of VE. In Experiment 3, broiler embryos received 10 IU VE. In all three experiments, sham-injected control embryos (0 IU VE) received 300 microL of saline. In Experiments 1 and 2 (turkey embryos), 20 and 30 IU of VE reduced (P < or = 0.05) percentage hatchability below that of controls. At hatch, poults exhibited a dose related increase (P < 0.05) in plasma VE levels. Mean BW gain up to 35 d and relative bursa of Fabricius and spleen weights were not different among treatment groups. When challenged at 7 d posthatch, total (P < 0.05) and IgM (P < 0.08) anti-SRBC antibodies were higher in 10 IU VE poults than in controls. Immunoglobulin G levels did not differ among the treatment groups. Poults in the 10 IU VE group had higher (P < 0.002) numbers of Sephadex-elicited inflammatory exudate cells, as well as a greater percentage of phagocytic macrophages (P < 0.0001). Additionally, the numbers of SRBC per phagocytic macrophage were greater (P < 0.001), than in control poults at 4 wk of age. In Experiment 3, chick embryos exposed to 10 IU VE, exhibited no differences in hatchability, BW gain, or bursal and splenic weights from the sham-exposed group. However, total and IgM antibody responses against SRBC were greater (P < 0.01) in the 10 IU VE group at 7 d postinjection. A secondary SRBC challenge given at 14 d after primary injection resulted in higher total (P < 0.07) and IgG (P < 0.04) antibody responses in the 10 IU VE chicks than in the controls. Similarly, broiler chicks (10 IU VE) had more Sephadex-elicited abdominal exudate cells (P < 0.07), and greater macrophage phagocytic potential (P < 0.0001). In ovo VE exposure (10 IU) also increased nitrite production (P < 0.04) by chick macrophages. The results from this study demonstrated an enhanced antibody and macrophage response and suggest that in ovo exposure with VE may improve posthatch poult and broiler quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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