We characterized the lymphocytes in the tarsal joint synovium of chickens inoculated with an arthrotropic strain of avian reovirus. Cryostat sections of whole joints taken from 2 days to 35 days postinoculation were analyzed using monoclonal antibodies directed against B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, and chicken Ia antigen. Plasma cells were morphologically identified using stained sections of whole joints. Time-dependent changes were found in the type and number of positively staining cells. Synoviocytes and cells with a dendritic morphology stained positive for Ia in normal joint sections. T cells, mostly CD8 positive, were present in low numbers in acute phase arthritis (2-6 days postinfection) in the perivascular and superficial regions of the synovium. Subacute arthritis (8-14 days postinfection) was characterized by increased numbers of CD4 and CD8 T cells in the perivascular and superficial regions. The perivascular T cells began to organize into aggregates, with IgM-positive B cells and plasma cells on the periphery of these aggregates. Some CD8-positive cells were detected on the surface of the articular cartilage. Cells staining positively for Ia were not lymphocytes. Chronic arthritis (> 14 days postinfection) was characterized by large numbers of T cells in the perivascular and superficial regions, with the CD4-positive T cells found primarly in the lymphoid aggregates of the perivascular regions. IgM-positive B cells were fewer, but more plasma cells, few of which stained positive for IgM, were present. Lymphocytes in chronic arthritis stained positively for Ia. These data suggest that the types, numbers, and activation level of lymphocytes present in the tarsal joints are similar but not identical to those seen in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chickens immunohistochemistry
- Light microscopy
- Tarsal joint
- Viral arthritis
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