Potentiators of Innate Immunity

The use of cytokines for the preventive activation of the nonspecific innate immune system may be an effective alternative to antibiotics, particularly in neonates whose acquired immune system has yet to mature.[5] Chickens, for example, are extremely susceptible to opportunistic pathogens in the first week post-hatch and rely primarily on their innate immune system.[6] Splenic T cells from adult chickens immunized against Salmonella enteritidis secrete factors, collectively called immune lymphokines (ILK), that can activate the bactericidal activities of heterophils, one of the main effector cells of the avian innate response.[7] The activation of heterophils in ILK-treated birds is strongly associated with protection against Salmonella organ invasion and reduction of Salmonella-induced mortality.[8] A similar preparation for swine has been shown to significantly reduce Salmonella colonization and organ invasion in neonatal and weaned pigs.[9] Although the functional activities of ILK have been well documented, the molecular composition of ILK remains largely undefined. Identification of its active components is still required for the development of a defined cocktail of immunopotentiators that will fully activate innate resistance.

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