Infection and activation of bursal macrophages by virulent infectious bursal disease virus

Mahesh Khatri, Joseph M. Palmquist, Ra Mi Cha, Jagdev M. Sharma

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100 Scopus citations


In this study the effect of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) on bursal macrophages during the acute phase of the infection was examined. Specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens were exposed to virulent IBDV and bursal adherent cells were examined by immunohistochemisrty and RT-PCR for virus infection and by real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) for mRNA transcripts of proinflammatory cytokines and iNOS. Viral genome was detected in bursal macrophages at 3, 5 and 7 days post-infection (dpi). Immuno-histochemical staining revealed double positive cells for KUL01 (macrophage marker) and intracellular viral proteins, showing viral replication in bursal macrophages of infected chickens. We noted a significant decrease in the total number of bursal macrophages in infected chickens, probably due to the lysis of infected cells. However, likely due to extensive necrosis of B cells, the relative proportion of bursal macrophages was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in infected birds at 3 and 5 dpi than in controls. Among the cytokines examined, IL-6 showed the greatest upregulation (100-fold increase) at 3 dpi. Expression of IL-1β was maximum at 3 dpi whereas IL-18 expression was highest at 1 dpi. Enhanced expression of iNOS mRNA was observed at 5 dpi. Increased expression of the proinflammatory cytokines and iNOS correlated well with the presence of the inflammatory response in the infected bursa. These data suggested that B cells may not be the sole targets for the virus; macrophages and possibly other cells may serve as host for IBDV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalVirus research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Bursal macrophages
  • IBDV
  • Proinflammatory cytokines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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