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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Safeguarding Well-being of Food Producing Animals

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Immune response of laying hens exposed to 30 ppm ammonia for 25 weeks

Author
item Chen, Hui
item Yan, Feifei
item Hu, Jiaying
item Wu, Yanan
item Tucker, Christina
item Green, Angela
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2017
Publication Date: 3/15/2017
Citation: Chen, H., Yan, F., Hu, J., Wu, Y., Tucker, C.M., Green, A.R., Cheng, H. 2017. Immune response of laying hens exposed to 30 ppm ammonia for 25 weeks. Poultry Science. 16(4):139-146. doi:10.3923/ijps.2017.139.146.

Interpretive Summary: Ammonia is one of the most prominent aerial pollutants inside poultry production facilities, affecting chicken health and well-being based on its levels and exposure durations. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 30 ppm ammonia on the immune response of laying hens. The data showed that ammonia exposed hens had higher heterophil to lymphocyte ratios, a stress indicator, and lower plasma antibody concentrations compared to control hens. These results suggest that ammonia exposure at 30 ppm for 25 wk increases stress state and suppresses immunity in laying hens. The findings could be used by producers and scientists for conducting further investigation and developing management guidelines for improving hen well-being.

Technical Abstract: Ammonia is one of the most prominent aerial pollutants inside poultry production facilities, affecting chicken health and well-being based on its levels and exposure durations. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 30 ppm ammonia on the immune response of laying hens. Hens at 18 wk of age were randomly assigned to 4-hen cages and evenly distributed to two controlled environment chambers. Beginning at 25 wk of age, one chamber was maintained continuously with fresh air (control hens) and the other one was injected with ammonia at 30 ppm (ammonia hens) for 25 wk. At 50 wk of age, plasma concentrations of total immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG and IgM), complement factors (C3 and C4), albumin, Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein and cytokines including interleukin (IL)-1ß, IL-6, interferon gamma and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) as well as mRNA expressions of IL-1ß, IL-6 and TNF-a in the spleens were determined (n=16). Ammonia exposed hens had greater heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratios (P < 0.05), a stress indicator, but lower plasma concentrations of IgM and C4 (P < 0.05, respectively) than control hens. There were no differences in the concentrations of other measured parameters between ammonia hens and control hens (P > 0.05, respectively). These results suggest that ammonia exposure at 30 ppm for 25 wk increases stress state and suppresses immunity of laying hens as indicated by the changes of H/L ratios and plasma IgM and C4 concentrations.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
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