Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) is a gammacoronavirus that is prevalent in commercial chicken flocks, resulting in characteristic clinical signs including snicking, rales, decreased tracheal ciliary activity, reduced weight gain and reduced egg production. Preliminary results indicate that there is a different clinical response to IBV infection in different chicken lines. Therefore, we aim to determine whether there is a differential innate or humoral immune response to IBV between chicken lines.

A series of experiments were conducted comparing brown leghorns (Rhode Island Red, RIR (Roslin)) to white leghorns (from Valo and Ovagen). Trachea and bursa were collected from infected and control birds at four-, six- and fourteen-days post infection (dpi). There was a difference in snick rate and rales between the RIRs and the white leghorns (both lines). However, no difference was observed in ciliary activity. Viral load was determined by absolute quantification using qRT-PCR. The viral load in the trachea of RIRs was significantly lower (p<0.05) at 6 dpi compared to 4 dpi, unlike in Ovagen birds where there was no significant difference between the timepoints. Relative gene expression of IFN-α, IFN-β, IFN-γ, IL-6 and IL-1β in these tissues will be measuredby qRT-PCR. Serum was processed from whole blood collected at zero and ten dpi for use in IBV specific ELISAs which will measure antibody responses in the chicken lines. This project aims to explore immune responses against IBV as well as identifying the causes of variability in experimentation using chickens to investigate IBV infection.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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