We investigated the effects of polysaccharide extracts from 2 mushrooms, Lentinus edodes (LenE) and Tremella fuciformis (TreE), and an herb, Astragalus membranaceus (AstE), on cellular and humoral immune responses of Eimeria tenella-infected chickens. A total of 150 broiler chicks were assigned to 5 treatment groups: 3 groups were infected with E. tenella and fed with extracts (LenE, TreE, and AstE), and 2 control groups were infected with or without E. tenella. The 3 extracts were given at the level of 1 g/kg of the diet from 8 to 14 d of age. Specific systemic and cecum mucosal antibody production, proliferation of splenocytes, and peripheral T and B lymphocytes were measured during the 3 wk following Eimeria infection. A significantly higher production of specific IgA, IgM (at d 14 and 21 postinfection), and IgG (at d 21 postinfection) were detected in the Eimeria-infected groups fed with the extracts than in the infected group not fed with the extracts. Of the 3 extracts, TreE stimulated a slightly higher production of specific IgM (P = 0.052), and a significantly higher IgG production at 21 d postinfection. The cecal antibody production showed a similar trend to that of serum antibodies. The overall mean levels of cecal-specific IgA and IgG of the groups fed with extracts were significantly higher at 14 and 21 d postinfection compared with the group not fed with extracts. Of the 3 extracts, the AstE-fed group showed the highest IgG production at d 7 postinfection. Both TreE- and LenE-fed groups had significantly higher IgM and IgG levels compared with the AstE group at d 21 postinfection. The extract-fed groups also showed a significantly higher antigen-specific proliferation of splenocytes at 14 and 21 d postinfection compared with the group not fed with the extracts. The overall mean of erythrocyte rosette-forming cells (ERFC %) (at d 14 and 21) and erythrocyte-antibody-complement cells (EAC %) (at d 14) of the groups fed with the extracts was significantly higher compared with the group not fed the extracts. It is concluded from this study that supplementation with mushroom and herb extracts resulted in enhancement of both cellular and humoral immune responses in E. tenella-infected chickens.
- avian coccidiosis