Immune response of broiler chickens fed different levels of arginine and vitamin E to a coccidiosis vaccine and Eimeria challenge.
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One-day-old broiler chicks (n = 300) were orally vaccinated (Coccivac-B) and divided into 6 groups to evaluate Arg at 3 levels of supplementation, 0, 0.3, or 0.6% [normal level (NARG), medium level (MARG), or high level (HARG), respectively], and 2 levels of vitamin E (VE), 40 or 80 IU/kg of feed (VE40 or VE80, respectively), in a factorial experiment. Birds were reared in floor pens with fresh pine shavings and provided a corn-soybean-based diet and water ad libitum. At d 14, all chickens were orally challenged with a mixture of Eimeria field isolates (Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima, and Eimeria tenella). In vitro heterophil and monocyte oxidative burst (HOB and MOB, respectively) was measured at d 21 from cells isolated from peripheral blood. Antibody levels (IgG, IgM, and IgA isotypes, ELISA) and NO were measured at d 14 and 28. The HOB was lower in birds fed the VE40 diets but was increased with the MARG and HARG treatments, whereas birds fed the VE80 diet had a higher HOB irrespective of Arg level. Birds fed the VE80 diet had high levels of MOB, which was not further improved by Arg, whereas birds fed the VE40-MARG diet had the highest MOB response. Plasma NO was not affected by diet at d 14, but at d 28, plasma NO was higher in birds fed the VE80-MARG or the VE40-NARG diet and lower in birds fed the VE80-NARG or the VE40-MARG diet. Birds fed the VE40-HARG or VE80-MARG diet had the highest IgG levels at d 14, but at d 28, birds fed the VE80-MARG diet had the highest IgG levels. The IgM concentration was lower in birds fed NARG levels irrespective of VE levels at d 14, but at d 28, IgM levels were higher in birds fed the VE40-HARG or the VE80-MARG feed. The IgA concentration was not consistently affected at d 14 or 28. These results suggest that Arg and VE fed at levels higher than those recommended by the NRC may play complementary roles on the innate and humoral immune response against an Eimeria challenge, potentially improving vaccine efficacy and response to field infections.