Enhanced immune responses of chickens to oral vaccination against infectious bursal disease by ginseng stem-leaf saponins

Poult Sci. 2014 Oct;93(10):2473-81. doi: 10.3382/ps.2014-04056. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Infectious bursal disease (IBD), caused by infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), is an immunosuppressive infectious disease of global economic importance in poultry. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of oral administration of ginseng stem-leaf saponins (GSLS) on humoral and gut mucosal immunity in chickens vaccinated with live IBDV vaccine, and furthermore, to test its protective efficacy against virulent IBDV challenge following vaccination. In experiment 1, chickens were orally administered with GSLS at 5 mg/kg of BW for 7 d, and then immunized with live IBDV vaccine via the oral route. Serum was sampled on 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 wk postvaccination for detecting antibody titers by ELISA, and intestinal tissues were collected on 0, 1, 3, and 5 wk postvaccination for measurement of IgA-positive cells and intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes by immunohistochemical and hematoxylin-eosin staining, respectively. Result showed that antibody titers, IgA-positive cells and intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes were significantly higher in chickens drinking GSLS than the control, suggesting an enhanced effect of GSLS on humoral and gut mucosal immune responses. In experiment 2, chickens were delivered with GSLS and then vaccinated in the same way as in experiment 1. The birds were challenged with virulent IBDV at wk 3 postvaccination. Then the birds were weighed, bled, and necropsied at d 3 postchallenge and the bursae were sampled for gross and histopathological examination. Results demonstrated that GSLS provided a better protection against virulent IBDV challenge following vaccination than the control. In conclusion, oral administration of GSLS enhances both humoral and gut mucosal immune responses to IBDV and offers a better protection against virulent IBDV challenge. Considering its immunomodulatory properties to IBDV vaccine, GSLS might be a promising oral adjuvant for vaccination against infectious diseases in poultry.

Keywords: ginseng; infectious bursal disease; oral adjuvant; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Birnaviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Birnaviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Birnaviridae Infections / virology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Immunity, Humoral / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Mucosal / drug effects*
  • Infectious bursal disease virus / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Poultry Diseases / virology
  • Saponins / pharmacology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology
  • Virulence


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Saponins
  • Viral Vaccines