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Immunomodulating effect of (1→3, 1→4) β-glucan, derived from oats, in mice infected with eimeria vermiformis



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Coccidiosis, caused mainly by Eimeria spp., is controlled primarily by chemotherapy. Emergence of drug resistance increases the need to develop vaccines and immunostimulants to control this disease. Beta-glucan (1→3, 1→6) from yeast and fungi non-specifically enhances host resistance to bacterial, viral, protozoan and fungal infections. β-glucan (1→3, 1→4) is present in oats and its immunostimulating properties are unclear. In experiment I oat β-glucan, in a dose and time dependent manner, stimulated release of IL-1 and, to a much lesser degree, TNF-α from murine macrophages in vitro and induced release of IL-2, IL4 and IFN-γ from cultured murine primary spleen cells. Injection of oat glucan (500 μg/0.2 ml) ip in CD-1 mice increased (P<0.01) the number of macrophages in peritoneal fluid. Survival of CD-1 mice challenged with Staphylococcus aureus was improved (P<0.05) by oat β-glucan ip 3 days pre-challenge. In experiment II oat glucan treatment sc (500 μg/0.1 ml) or ig (3 mg/0.3 ml) daily for 10 days in C57BL/6 mice immunosuppressed with dexamethasone (100 μg/d) and infected with E. vermiformis reduced fecal oocyst excretion by 23 and 34%, respectively. Oat β-glucan ip or ig reduced (P<0.001) mortality in infected, immunosuppressed mice. Oat β-glucan treatments generally increased total antibody concentrations, and anti-sporozoite and anti-merozoite IgG (P<0.05). In experiment III a single dose of oat β-glucan sc given on days -2, 0 or 2, but not 6, relative to infection with E. vermiformis on day 0, reduced (P<0.05) oocyst shedding in C57BL/6 mice. Proliferative responses of spleen cells to sporozoite antigen were increased (P<0.05) in mice treated on days -2 and 0. Oat β-glucan increased (P<0.01) the percentage of CD4⁺ T cells in MLN on day 12, and reduced the percentage of CD8⁺ cells in spleen on day 19. In conclusion, oat β-glucan showed immunostimulatory properties through enhancement of non-specific and specific humoral and cellular immune responses. Oat β-glucan treatment enhanced resistance to E. vermiformis infection in mice. These findings suggest that oat β-glucan has potential for use in livestock as an immunostimulant and for the prevention and treatment of coccidiosis.





Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Animal and Poultry Science


Animal and Poultry Science



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