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Effects of T-2 Toxin on Turkey Herpesvirus–Induced Vaccinal Immunity Against Marek's Disease

Kufuor-Mensah E., Reed W. M., Sleight S., Pestka J., Fadly A. M., Dunn J. R.
Avian diseases 2016 v.60 no.1 pp. 56-62
immunosuppression, viremia, vaccination, Marek disease, chicks, T-2 toxin, livestock feeds, secondary metabolites, viruses, small cereal grains, lesions (animal), body weight, White Leghorn, immune response, mortality, Fusarium, chickens, Meleagrid alphaherpesvirus 1, turkeys, vaccines, immunotoxicity
T-2 toxin, a very potent immunotoxic Type A trichothecene, is a secondary metabolite produced primarily by Fusarium spp., which grows on cereal grains and can lead to contaminated livestock feed. Repeated exposure to T-2 toxin has been shown to cause immunosuppression and decrease the resistance of exposed animals to a variety of infectious diseases; however, the effects of T-2 toxin on Marek's disease (MD) vaccinal immunity have not been reported. Four trials were conducted to determine the effects of T-2 toxin on vaccinal immunity against MD. Day-old, white leghorn chicks of Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory line 15I₅ × 7₁ were treated daily for 7 days via crop gavage with T-2 toxin at a sublethal dose of 1.25 mg/kg body weight. Treated and untreated chicks were also vaccinated with turkey herpesvirus (HVT) at hatch and were challenged with the JM strain of MD virus (MDV) at 8 days of age. Chickens were tested for HVT viremia at 1 wk postvaccination immediately before challenge, and for HVT and MDV viremia at 3 wk postchallenge. Chickens were observed for the development of MD lesions and mortality within 8 wk of age. T-2 toxin significantly reduced body weight and titers of HVT viremia within 7 days after hatch. T-2 toxin shortened the incubation period for the development of MD lesions and mortality, but only in unvaccinated chickens. The percent MD protection in T-2–toxin-treated, HVT-vaccinated chickens ranged from 82% to 96% and was comparable to that in HVT-vaccinated untreated control chickens (89%–100%). The data suggest that exposure of chickens to sublethal doses of T-2 toxin for 7 consecutive days after hatch may influence the development of 1) HVT viremia; and 2) MD lesions and mortality, but only in unvaccinated chickens.