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Induction of local and systemic immune reactions following infection of turkeys with avian Metapneumovirus (aMPV) subtypes A and B.

Author(s): Liman M, Rautenschlein S

Affiliation(s): Clinic of Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bunteweg 17, 30559 Hannover, Germany.

Publication date & source: 2007-02-15, Vet Immunol Immunopathol., 115(3-4):273-85. Epub 2006 Dec 9.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Most of the studies regarding the immunopathogenesis of avian Metapneumovirus (aMPV) have been done with subtype C of aMPV. Not much is known about the immunopathogenesis of aMPV subtypes A and B in turkeys. Specifically, local immune reactions have not been investigated yet. We conducted two experiments in commercial turkeys. We investigated local and systemic humoral and cell mediated immune reactions following infection with an attenuated vaccine strain of aMPV subtype B (Experiment I) and virulent strains of aMPV subtypes A and B (Experiment II). Turkeys infected with virulent aMPV strains developed mild respiratory signs while birds inoculated with the attenuated aMPV did not show any clinical signs. Virus neutralizing antibodies were detected locally in tracheal washes and systemically in serum as soon as 5-7 days post aMPV infection (PI) independent of the strain used. Virus neutralizing antibody titres peaked at 7 days PI and then antibody levels declined. The peak of serum ELISA antibody production varied between infected groups and ranged from 14 and 28 days PI. All aMPV strains induced an increase in the percentage of CD4+ T cell populations in spleen and Harderian gland at days 7 or 14 PI. Furthermore, as shown in Experiment I, infection with the attenuated aMPV-B strain stimulated spleen leukocytes to release significantly higher levels of interferons (IFNs), interleukin-6 and nitric oxide in ex vivo culture in comparison to virus-free controls up to 7 days PI (P<0.05). As detected by quantitative real time RT-PCR in Experiment II, infection with virulent aMPV induced an increased IFNgamma expression in the Harderian gland in comparison to virus-free controls. IFNgamma expression in the spleen varied between aMPV strains and days PI. Overall, our study demonstrates that aMPV subtypes A and B infection induced humoral and cell mediated immune reactions comparable to subtype C infections. We observed only temporary stimulation of serum virus neutralizing antibodies and of most of the local immune reactions independent of the aMPV strain used. The temporary character of immune reactions may explain the short duration of protection against challenge following aMPV vaccination in the field.

Page last updated: 2007-05-03

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