Protective immunity against infectious bursal disease virus in chickens in the absence of virus-specific antibodies

Hung Yueh Yeh, Silke Rautenschlein, Jagdev M. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The role of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) in pathogenesis of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) was investigated. One-day-old specific pathogen-free chickens were treated with 3mg of cyclophosphamide (Cy) per chicken for 4 consecutive days and, 3 weeks later, infected with the IBDV-IM strain. Chickens were examined for: (a) mitogenic response of splenocytes to ConA, as an indicator of T-cell functions in vitro, (b) antibody against IBDV by ELISA, (c) IBDV genome in various tissues by RT-PCR and (d) immunological memory. At the time of IBDV infection, Cy-treated chickens had depleted bursal tissue (an avian primary B-cell lymphoid organ), severely compromised antibody-producing ability, but normal T-cell response to ConA. In primary infection, no detectable antibody against IBDV antigen in Cy-treated, IBDV-infected chickens was observed up to 28 days post-infection (PI), while IBDV genome was detected by RT-PCR in spleen, thymus, liver and blood until 10 days PI. Like intact control chickens infected with IBDV, Cy-treated, IBDV-infected chickens suppressed splenocytes responses to ConA from 5 to 10 days PI, suggesting that intact control as well as Cy-treated chickens responded similarly to IBDV infection in the early phase. Following re-infection with IBDV, no detectable secondary antibody response to IBDV as well as IBDV genome in tissues were observed in Cy-treated chickens, while intact control chickens developed vigorous secondary antibody response. Similar to intact control chickens infected with IBDV, Cy-treated chickens after second infection with IBDV did not suppress splenocyte response to ConA. These results suggested that in the absence of detectable anti-IBDV antibodies, protection of Cy-treated chickens from IBDV infection may occur via immunological memory mediated by CMI. We concluded that under normal conditions, IBDV induces a protective antibody response, however, in the absence of antibody, CMI alone is adequate in protecting birds against virulent IBDV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 28 2002


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Immunity
  • Infectious bursal disease virus
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Protective immunity against infectious bursal disease virus in chickens in the absence of virus-specific antibodies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this