Detection and localization of avian alphaherpesviruses in embryonic tissues following in ovo exposure

Catherine A. St. Hill, Robert F. Silva, Jagdev M. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We investigated whether chicken embryonic tissues are susceptible to infection with virulent Marek's disease virus (MDV). Groups of embryonic day (ED) 17 chicken embryos and 1-day-old chicks were compared for tissue sites of viral persistence of MDV and herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) in lungs, thymuses, bursae of Fabricius and spleens. MDV DNA was detectable in the lungs and thymuses of embryos at 3 days post-inoculation (DPI) by in situ hybridization, while HVT DNA was only present in embryonic lungs. The target cells in lungs and thymuses appeared non-lymphoid and lymphoid, respectively. By 5 days post-inoculation, both viruses were detectable in all organs examined and persisted after hatch. Although MDV DNA was present in the embryo, there was little evidence of viral replication. These findings demonstrate the differences in pathogenesis of embryonic infection with MDV and HVT and provide evidence that the chicken embryo is susceptible to infection with a virulent avian herpesvirus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalVirus research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Amniotic inoculation
  • Chicken embryo
  • Herpesvirus
  • In ovo vaccination
  • In situ hybridization
  • Marek's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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