The pathogenesis of a field strain, a vaccine strain and the egg-adapted Van Roekel strain of avian encephalomyelitis virus in susceptible chicken embryos and day-old chickens was investigated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for the detection of virus-specific antibody and antigen. The Van Roekel strain was shown to be highly neurotropic whereas the field and vaccine strains were enterotropic. Radioimmunoprecipitation studies using NaI-labelled purified virus failed to detect any differences in the composition of the structural viral proteins of each strain that could account for these differences. As expected, the field and vaccine strains were more efficient than the Van Roekel strain at inducing antibody following oral administration. Primary cultures of chicken embryo brain cells supported the growth of the Van Roekel strain to a much greater extent than the field and vaccine strains.


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