The effects of selenium and vitamin E deficiency and subsequent selenium supplementation on immune response in chicks

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Bartholomew, Amy B.

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The Ohio State University

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This experiment was conducted in an effort to track the healing process in chicks resupplemented with selenium following a combined selenium and vitamin E deficiency. Chicks were fed a low selenium diet with no added vitamin E or synthetic antioxidant. A control group was fed the same diet with 0.1 mg selenite selenium added per kilogram. Selenium-deficient chicks first displayed visible symptoms of exudative diathesis at 10 days of age. Trios of birds were matched for severity. Two birds were treated with an injection of 0.15 ?g selenite selenium in 1 mL distilled water. The remaining bird was given an injection of l mL distilled water. The process was repeated for the five remaining trios of chicks. Immune responses were observed among each group. In selenium-deficient chicks, leukocyte counts more than doubled. Heterophil counts for this group were also increased. Upon reconstitution of selenium, leukocyte heterophil, monocyte, and basophil counts approached normal values. Eosinophils, however, increased in number in the selenium corrected-group. The selenium-deficient birds displayed evidence of cellular damage, as indicated by the results of the blood chemistries. An increase in immature erythroid cellular elements resulted in a myeloid: erythroid (M:E) ratio of 0.45. The deficient group had the highest heterophil and lowest lymphocyte counts. Necrosis in the pectoral muscle and varying degrees of pancreatic fibrosis were also observed. In birds resupplemented with selenium, fibrosis was extensive, and necrosis was uncommon. The (M:E) ratio was 1, as was the case with the selenium-adequate birds. Leukocyte and heterophil counts in selenium-corrected birds were similar to those observed in the selenium-adequate birds. However, the selenium-corrected birds had the lowest body weights over a 27-day period. Resupplementation of selenium in the diet decreased the severity of exudative diathesis, myocyte necrosis and began to restore immunocompetence in chicks. Immunological criteria in selenium-adequate birds was normal.