Sampling the complete organ instead of defined parts might affect analysis at both the cellular and transcriptional levels. We defined host responses to H9N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) in trachea and different parts of the lung. Chickens were spray-inoculated with either saline or H9N2 AIV. Trachea and lung were sampled at 1 and 3 days post-inoculation (p.i.) for immunocytochemistry, real-time quantitative RT-PCR and gene-expression profiling. The trachea was divided into upper and lower parts and the lung into four segments, according to anatomy and airflow. Two segments contained the primary and secondary bronchi, cranial versus caudal (parts L1 and L3), and two segments contained the tertiary bronchi, cranial versus caudal (parts L2 and L4). Between the upper and lower trachea in both control and infected birds, minor differences in gene expression and host responses were found. In the lung of control birds, differences in anatomy were reflected in gene expression, and in the lung of infected birds, virus deposition enhanced the differences in gene expression. Differential gene expression in trachea and lung suggested common responses to a wide range of agents and site-specific responses. In trachea, site-specific responses were related to heat shock and lysozyme activity. In lung L1, which contained most virus, site-specific responses were related to genes involved in innate responses, interleukin activity and endocytosis. Our study indicates that the anatomy of the chicken lung must be taken into account when investigating responses to respiratory virus infections.


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vol. , part 9, pp. 2134 –2146

Expression of immune-related genes induced by H9N2 infection in upper trachea at 3 days p.i.

Expression of immune-related genes induced by H9N2 infection in lung L1 at 3 days p.i.

Expression of immune-related genes induced by H9N2 infection in lung L4 at 3 days p.i.

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