Dietary Fish Oil Alters Specific and Inflammatory Immune Responses in Chicks

Source: Douglas R. Korver and Kirk C. Klasing

Two experiments were designed to determine the effects of dietary (n-3) fatty acids and grain source on the growth-suppressive effects of the inflammatory response and indices of specific immunity. In Experiment 1, chicks were fed diets containing 0.5, 1, or 2 g/100 g of either corn oil or fish oil. In Experiment 2, chicks were fed diets containing up to 2 g/100 g of either fish oil, linseed oil or corn oil as the source of dietary fat, in either cereal grain- or corn-based diets. In each experiment, subsets of chicks within each dietary treatment were either vaccinated with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) vaccine, injected with Salmonella typhimurium lipopolysaccharide (LPS), heat-killed Staphylococcus aureus, or remained noninjected. Increasing dietary fish oil, but not corn oil increased body weight and lessened the growth-suppressing effect of heat-killed S. aureus or S. typhimurium LPS. Increasing the concentration of dietary fish oil decreased febrile response, circulating hemopexin and metallothionein concentrations. Dietary fish oil resulted in decreased release relative to dietary corn oil of interleukin-1 by peritoneal macrophages. Although IBV titers were not significantly affected by dietary oil treatment, phytohemagglutination-induced wattle swelling was greater among chicks fed fish oil. In Experiment 2, the modulating effects of fish oil on the immune system were dependent on the type of grain used in the diet, with fish oil/cereal diets resulting in greater cell-mediated immunity and lower indices of inflammation than fish oil/corn diets. Inclusion of increasing amounts of fish oil in the diet improved performance, decreased indices of the inflammatory response and either improved or did not change indices of the specific immune response of growing chicks.