Institute of Animal Science, Physiology and Hygiene Unit, University of Bonn, Katzenburgweg 7-9, 53115, Germany.Abstract
Potentially adverse effects of diets containing transgenic plants are a concern for many consumers, particularly in Europe. For Bacillus thuringiensis-maize, several studies in livestock and poultry showed that the zootechnical data provide no indication for such adverse effects. These studies were all done in homeostatic situations; it remained open whether a deflection of the regulatory physiological systems might yield divergent dynamic responses in B. thuringiensis-maize-fed animals. We therefore tested the effect of an active immunization using BSA as antigen in a feeding regimen with or without B. thuringiensis-maize using quail as a model organism. Newly hatched Japanese quail were randomly allocated to 2 groups (n=120 per group) fed with diets containing either B. thuringiensis-maize or isogenic maize of the same cultivar. The diets did not differ in concentrations of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and zearalenone, which were both far below guidance values. After 16 wk on the experimental diets, one-half of each group was immunized against BSA. The remaining birds were injected with saline. Thirty-six hours after the injection, half of the BSA-injected subgroup (n=30) and half of the saline subgroup (n=30) from B. thuringiensis-maize- and isogenic-fed birds were killed and blood samples were collected and analyzed for serum zinc levels, indicative for acute phase response. For determining IgY-mediated immune responses, eggs were collected every other week for 6 wk after the injections from the remaining birds and total IgY concentrations and BSA-specific IgY titers were measured in egg yolk. The BSA injections did not elicit significant decreases of serum zinc concentrations. The serum zinc levels were significantly higher in B. thuringiensis-maize-fed quail. Expectedly, total IgY as well as BSA-specific IgY titers increased with time in the BSA-immunized quail. The response of both variables to the BSA injection did not differ between the feeding groups. Our results indicate that feeding of B. thuringiensis-maize does not impair the immune system of Japanese quail and thus gives no indication for respective concerns.
PMID: 20460657 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]