Comparative Study of Levamisole and Dexamethasone on the Chicks Immunity after Inoculation with Newcastle Vaccine

This Iraqi study suggests that in-ovo injection of hatching eggs with levamisol numerically improved hatchability, livability and the response to Newcastle disease vaccination. All three parameters were negatively affected by in-ovo injection of dexamethasone.
calendar icon 18 July 2014
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The objective of this study reported by A. Harith Abdulla of the University of Basrah in Iraq was to evaluate the effects of levamisole and dexamethasone on antibody titre in chicks following vaccination against Newcastle disease.

Previous work has shown that levamisole (LMS) is a synthetic antihelmintic drug for animals against stomach, intestinal and lungworms. Abdulla suggests that LMS is a promising agent for use in the immunotherapy of patients with deficient host defence mechanisms. It has been shown to stimulate cell-mediated immunity, probably through the enhanced maturation of cells.

Dexamethasone, often regarded as a hallmark of stress, plays a critical role in physiological and immunological changes, such as anaemia, bodyweight loss, increased body temperature and respiratory rate and reduced growth rate in stressed animals, according to the author.

In a paper published in International Journal of Poultry Science, the author explains that 120 fertile eggs at 18 days of incubation were divided into four equal group, 30 embryonated egg for each.

The first group (A) was inoculated with levamisole at a dose of 0.1mL per egg containing 1.25mg of active ingredient and live attenuated Newcastle vaccine (Lasota strain) at a dose 0.1mL per egg containing 4×10 antigen in the embryo on day 18 of incubation.

The second group (B) was injected with dexamethasone at 0.1mL (0.2 mg) per egg and the same does of the same Newcastle disease vaccine on day 18 of embryo development.

The third group (C) received the Newcastle vaccine alone and served as a positive control.

A fourth group (D) served as a negative control and birds were injected with normal saline (0.1mL per egg) on day 18 of incubation.

Levamisol treatment resulted in a a small increase in hatchability and livability, while dexamethasone significantly decreased these measures.

Haemagglutination inhibition test (HI) was used to evaluate the antibodies titre for all groups at 14 days of age, reports Abdulla. There was a numerical increase in HI titre for group A compared to group C, while group B showed a significant decrease in HI titre.


Abdulla A.H. 2014. A comparative study of levamisole and dexamethasone on the chicks Immunity which inoculated with Newcastle vaccine. International Journal of Poultry Science. 13 (4):224-227.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.
For more information on Newcastle disease, click here.

July 2014

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