Fenbendazole and its effect on the immune system of the sheep

N Z Vet J. 1994 Dec;42(6):216-20. doi: 10.1080/00480169.1994.35826.

Abstract

Ten parasite-free 6-month-old lambs were drenched on days 0 and 28 with fenbendazole and 1 day after each drench were injected with human erythrocytes and ovalbumin. Ten other lambs injected with the antigens were not drenched with anthelmintic and served as controls. Lymphocytes from the fenbendazole-drenched lambs collected 3 days after the first antigen injections and cultured in vitro in RPM1 1640 plus 5% foetal calf serum, and lymphocytes collected at 3 and 7 days and cultured in RPM1 plus 50% autologous serum, had decreased blastogenic activity compared with lymphocytes from control lambs. Similarly, decreased blastogenesis was observed with lymphocytes collected 7 days after the second antigen injections from drenched lambs and cultured in 50% autologous serum containing concanavalin A. In contrast, increased blastogenesis was seen with lymphocytes collected 14 days after the second antigen injections from the drenched lambs and cultured in 50% autologous serum containing phytohaemagglutinin. Similar antibody responses were seen for the drenched and control lambs in response to the injections of both antigens except that, after the second injection, there was a significant reduction in antibody response to human erythrocytes in the fenbendazole-treated lambs. Decreased serum complement levels were seen particularly 3 and 7 days after the second antigen injections in drenched lambs. These serum samples had increased conglutinin activity. At the end of the experiment, the fenbendazole-drenched lambs were significantly heavier than the control lambs. However, this did not appear to be related to any effects of fenbendazole on levels of growth promoting hormones.