Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 25: 1–13, 2006
Copyright © Informa Healthcare
ISSN 1536-8378 print
Effect of Electric Field During Incubation of Eggs
on the Immune Responses of Hatched Chickens
T. M. SHAFEY, S. AL-MUFAREJ, AND H. A. AL-BATSHAN
Department of Animal Production, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The effects of electric field (EF) during incubation of eggs on the immunocompetence of chickens were investigated over a 42-day experimental period. Eggs from a meat type breeder flock were incubated under EF of 30kV/m, 60Hz during the first 18 days of incubation as compared with the control incubation (C). Chickens from the two incubation treatments were fed ad libitum and their immune system were monitored. Measurements were made of body weight (BW), and lymphoid organs weight (thymus, spleen, and bursa of Fabricius (BOF)) of birds at 21 and 42 days of age. They were tested for specific antibody responses to sheep red blood cell (SRBC) and Newcastle disease vaccine (NDV), in vivo T-lymphocyte proliferation responses to phytohaemagglutimin (PHA), and in vitro to concanavalin A (Con-A).
EF incubation of eggs did not significantly (P > 0.05) influence BW of bird, absolute weight of lymphoid organs and weight of thymus, and BOF as a percentage of BW of bird (% BW) at 21 and 42 days of age, humoral immune responses as measured by antibody responses to SRBC and NDV, and cell-mediated immune responses as measured by T-lymphocyte proliferation responses to PHA, and Con-A of birds when compared with those of the C treatment. EF incubation of eggs significantly (P < 0.05) increased spleen weight as a % BW at 21 and 42 days of age when compared with those incubated under the C treatment. Birds at 42 days of age had significantly _P < 0_01_ higher BW, lymphoid organ weight, and weight of BOF as a % BW, and lower spleen weight as a % BW when compared with those of 21 days of age.
It is concluded that the incubation of eggs under EF of 30kV/m, 60Hz increased spleen weight as a % BW, without altering cell-mediated and humoral immune responses and, consequently, immunocompetence of meat chickens during the rearing period of 42 days.
Keywords Chicken; Electric field; Immunocompetence; Lymphoid organs.
Address correspondence to T. M. Shafey, Department of Animal Production, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia; Fax: 966-1-4678474966; E-mail: email@example.com