Evaluation of probiotic administration on the immune response of coccidiosis-vaccinated broilers.
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Probiotics are nonpathogenic bacteria that can promote bird health by reducing pathogen colonization. Researchers have previously demonstrated that the avian immune response can be modulated with probiotics, which may provide a mechanism for the reported reductions in pathogens. We examined phagocyte oxidative burst and cell proliferation of vaccinated broilers administered probiotics. We hypothesized that the combination of probiotic bacteria and a vaccine would affect immune function. Two studies were conducted to evaluate this interaction in broilers. Treatments consisted of a negative control, probiotic, vaccine, or a probiotic + vaccine. Peripheral blood was collected on d 7, 14, and 21 of age. Heterophils and monocytes were evaluated for oxidative burst and lymphocytes were assayed for proliferation. In study 1, heterophil oxidative burst was higher (P 0.05) in each treatment that received probiotic on d 14 when compared with the negative control. On d 21, an enhanced (P 0.05) heterophil oxidative burst was observed in the probiotic treatment when compared with the other treatments. On d 14, monocyte oxidative burst was greater (P 0.05) in the probiotic + vaccine treatment when compared with all other treatments. An increase (P 0.05) in lymphocyte proliferation was observed among all treatments on d 7 when compared with the negative control. Both vaccine treatments had significant lymphocyte proliferation on d 14 when compared with the negative control. In study 2, the probiotic treatment was associated with greater levels in heterophil oxidative burst on d 7 when compared with all other treatments. On d 21, an increase (P 0.05) in heterophil oxidative burst was seen in the vaccine treatment when compared with the negative control. On d 7, increased (P 0.05) monocyte oxidative burst was observed in the vaccine treatment when compared with the negative control. No significant differences were observed in lymphocyte proliferation in any of the treatment groups. These data suggest that probiotics can modulate the immune response and may play a role in vaccination.