Effect of Dietary Vitamin E on Growth Performance and Immune Response of Breeder Chickens

  • Lin, Y.F. (Division of Technical Service, Livestock Research Institute, Council of Agriculture) ;
  • Chang, S.J. (Department of Life Sciences, National Cheng Kung University)
  • Received : 2005.11.18
  • Accepted : 2006.02.01
  • Published : 2006.06.01


The effect of dietary vitamin E supplementation on immune responses was studied in breeder chickens during the maturing period. In experiment 1, 17-week old female birds were fed corn-soybean meal based diets supplemented with either 0, 40, 80, 120, or 160 mg vitamin E (all-rac-${\alpha}$-tocopherol acetate)/kg diet for 19 weeks. In experiment 2, 23-week old male birds were fed the corn-soybean meal based diet supplemented with either 0, 20, 40, 80 or 160 mg vitamin E/kg diet for 8 weeks. The chickens were evaluated for growth performance, antibody titer to sheep red blood cell (SRBC), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) and infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), and skin response to phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P). The results showed that supplemental vitamin E improved body weigh gain of laying pullets during peak-laying period but had no significant effect on growth performance of cockerels. For cockerels, addition of 20 mg vitamin E/kg diet significantly enhanced (p<0.05) immune response to SRBC compared to those added with 0, 80 and 160 mg vitamin E/kg diet; addition of 20 mg vitamin E/kg diet had higher (p<0.01) antibody titer to IBDV than those added with 40-160 mg vitamin E/kg diet. No significant effects on immune response were observed in laying pullets fed supplemental vitamin E. The findings suggest that moderate supplementation of vitamin E may enhance immune responses to selective antigens in cockerels but excessive vitamin E may depress specific immune response.


Vitamin E;Growth;Sheep Red Blood Cell;Vaccines;Antibody Titer;Immune Response;Breeder Chickens


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