Functional comparison of heterophils isolated from commercial broiler chickens.
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Heterophils from two pure lines (A and B) of commercial broiler chickens were isolated on days 1, 4, and 7 post-hatch to evaluate their ability to (1) phagocytose Salmonella enteritidis (SE) (2) degranulate when exposed to immune-IgG opsonized SE, and (3) produce an oxidative burst. On days 1 and 4, heterophils from line A were functionally more efficient compared to heterophils from line B (p<0.05). By 7 days post hatch, heterophil functions for both lines were comparable. To further study the inheritance of heterophil functional efficiency, F1 reciprocal crosses (line C=male Bxfemale A; line D=male Axfemale B) were evaluated for functional activity and compared with the immunologically efficient (A) and non-efficient (B) parent lines. Heterophils from line D had a more efficient heterophil function (p<0.05) when compared to heterophils from C. These results suggest that heterophil function and efficiency can be genetically transferred to progeny. Moreover they indicate that heterophil function is sex-associated and genetically controlled by the rooster since progeny of line A males maintained immunologically efficient characteristics whereas heterophils from the progeny of line B roosters remained immunologically inefficient. To our knowledge, this is the first report to describe a functional relationship between pure and F1 reciprocal crosses of broiler chickens with regard to heterophils and the innate immune response.