The objective of this study was to determine the effect of different levels of dietary methionine on selected immune parameters of young turkeys. A total of 357 one-day-old female Hybrid Converter turkeys were randomly divided into three groups with low, medium and high level of dietary methionine (LM, MM, HM) of seven replicates each. Methionine was added to the basal diet (LM) at 0.16% (MM) and 0.32% (HM). At 17 days of age, seven birds per group were vaccinated against Ornithobacterium rhinotraheale (ORT) infection, with ORNITIN (ABIC) vaccine. At 28 days of age, blood was sampled and the birds were euthanized. The serum concentrations and activity of selected biochemical parameters, total IgY and IgM, and vaccine-induced antibody titers (IgY) against ORT were determined. The percentages of CD4+, CD8+, CD4+/CD8+ T cell subpopulations and IgM+ B cell subpopulation were determined in blood and organs by flow cytometry.
Different supplementary levels of methionine had no significant effect on vaccine-induced antibody titers against ORT or total serum IgM and IgY levels, as well as on the percentages of peripheral blood T and B cell subsets. Increasing dietary methionine rates decreased the percentage of CD4+ T cell subpopulation, however it has increased the percentage of IgM+ B cell subpopulation in the spleen. Vaccination against ORT resulted in a significant decrease in the percentage of CD4+ T cell subset and an increase in the percentage of CD8+ T cell subset in the spleen. It could be concluded that MM turkeys have developed the most desirable values of immune parameters.
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