Immunocompetence in relation to a heat-processed diet (Maillard reaction) in weanling rats

Pilar Varela, María Del Mar Arce, Ascensión Marcos, Ana María Castrillón
1997 British Journal of Nutrition  
~ ~~~~ Diets containing unheated casein (CD; control) or a casein-glucose mixture (CGD) previously heated at 140" for 2 h were fed to two groups of young rats for 21 d. Differences in body weight, feed consumption, thymus and spleen growth, protein metabolism and in vivo immune response were then determined. For this last experiment, animals were inoculated with sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) on day 15 to provide an immunological challenge. No changes were seen in body weight, feed consumption or
more » ... d conversion ratios. Neither were significant differences found in spleen weight, protein content, DNA content, DNase (EC activity or lymphocyte count, suggesting that spleen cell growth remained similar in all the animals studied. The CGD induced marked increases in thymus DNA content whilst the protein:DNA ratio became lower. Spleen RNA content was similar in all rats, but thymus RNA content was 29% lower in the CGD group, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. This fact might be a consequence of the low RNase (EC activity and RNa9e:RNA ratios in the thymus glands of CGD-fed animals. Further, the number of splenic plasma cells secreting anti-SRBC antibodies (direct plaque-forming cells) was significantly decreased in the same group. It might be concluded that both diets are adequate for rat growth and that the differences observed in the thymus of CGD-fed rats may be directed towards preserving tissue function. Nevertheless, the CGD did cause immunological disturbances affecting the humoral immune response.
doi:10.1079/bjn19970092 pmid:9227191 fatcat:uqremwjubfag3gb3ef4kmhiv24