Impact of nematode infections on non-specific and vaccine-induced humoral immunity in dual-purpose or layer-type chicken genotypes
Nematode infections may induce immune-modulatory effects and influence host-immune responses to other pathogens. The aim of the study was to investigate whether a mixed nematode-infection influences non-specific and vaccine-induced humoral immunity against Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), and Avian Metapneumovirus (AMPV) in already vaccinated hens of a dual-purpose (Lohmann Dual, LD) or a layer genotype (Lohmann Brown Plus; LB). Until 17 weeks-of-age, LD (n = 70) and LB (n = 109) hens were vaccinated against major bacterial and viral diseases and coccidiosis. At 24 weeks-of-age, the hens received either a placebo or an oral inoculation of 1,000 infectious eggs of A. galli and H. gallinarum. Plasma total immunoglobulin (Ig) isotypes (IgY, IgM, IgA) levels and vaccine-induced antibody titers against NDV, IBV, and AMPV were determined from 2 to 18 weeks post-infection (wpi). Infections had no suppressing effect on total Ig isotypes IgY, IgM, and IgA as well as on vaccine-induced antibody titers against NDV, IBV, and AMPV (P > 0.05). Overall, LB hens had higher levels of IgY, IgM, and IgA than those of LD hens (P < 0.05). There were no differences between IBV titers of the two genotypes (P > 0.05). Independent of infection status of the hens, NDV titers were higher in LB hens than in LD hens at wpi 2 (P < 0.05), but not in following weeks (P > 0.05). Uninfected LD hens had lower AMPV titers than their infected counterparts at 6 and 14 wpi (P < 0.05). Regardless of nematode infection, LD hens revealed a higher risk of responding weak to vaccination against NDV (odds ratio = 5.45; P = 0.021) and AMPV (odds ratio = 13.99, P < 0.001) than did LB hens (P > 0.05). We conclude that nematode infections have no adverse effects on non-specific and vaccine-induced humoral immunity in either genotype. LB hens have higher levels of total immunoglobulin isotypes than LD hens. Except for IBV, vaccine-induced humoral immune responses show a dependency on genotype. Dual-purpose hens show lower responsiveness to vaccinations against NDV and AMPV, possibly due to factors associated with increased body fat reserves in this genotype.