Background: Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis remains a constant drain on the financial
resources of African livestock keepers, on the productivity of their livestock and their health. Control
involves tackling the parasite by treating livestock with trypanocides, or controlling the vector through
insecticide-treated traps or cattle, aerial spraying, ground spraying, the sterile insect technique (SIT) or
combinations of these. Recently, the use of antioxidants, immunostimulants or immunomodulatory
agents such as vitamins and micronutrients in the management of African trypanosomosis have shown
some advantage. Vitamin E is able to optimize and enhance the immune response as well as function
as an antioxidant. In view of this, there is the need to study the effect of vitamin E supplementation on anaemia, oxidative
stress and immune response of Trypanosoma brucei brucei infected rats.
Methods: Thirty (30) adult albino rats divided into 5 groups (A - E) of 6 rats each were used for this study. Groups A, B
and C were fed with 50, 100, 200 parts per million (ppm) vitamin E in their feed respectively from day 21 pre-infection
till the experiment was terminated. Also, groups A, B, C and D rats were each infected with 1.0 × 106 trypanosomes intraperitoneally.
Rats in group E served as the uninfected control. The packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, parasitaemia,
antibody response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC), lipid peroxidation index and antioxidant enzymes activities
were used to assess the supplementation.
Results: The supplementation was able to increase the PCV and Hb significantly (P<0.05) by day 21 when compared with
not supplemented groups. Following infection on day 21 OTS, there was decrease in PCV with the infected not supplemented
group being significantly lower than other groups on day 35 OTS. The supplementation led to significant (P<0.05)
increase in antibody response to SRBC and leucocyte count of the supplemented group at pre-infection when compared
with the infected not supplemented and not infected not supplemented groups. The infection however led to further increase
in the antibody titre and leucocyte count on day 28 OTS followed by decrease from day 35 OTS. The serum MDA
concentration of the supplemented groups decreased significantly on day 21 OTS but was reversed by infection on day 42
OTS. The antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase and catalase) activities increased significantly (P<0.05) in the supplemented
groups on day 21 OTS but there was a significant (P<0.05) decrease in these enzymes activities following infection.
Conclusion: In conclusion, supplementation with vitamin E showed some beneficial effects in the management of trypanosomosis