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Open Access Isolation of acutely transforming subgroup J avian leukosis viruses that induce erythroblastosis and myelocytomatosis

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Avian leukosis virus of subgroup J (ALV-J), isolated in the late 1980s, predominantly causes myelocytic myeloid leukosis in meat-type chickens. In the past few years, we have observed the occurrence of lesions indicative of erythroblastosis in ALV-J-infected flocks and, in this paper, we report the isolation of ALV-J strains from such flocks. Three of these isolates were acutely transforming viruses, as shown by their ability to transform bone marrow cell cultures. The bone marrow cultures transformed by these virus isolates were very similar to the myeloid cells transformed by the ALV-J strain 966. However, the infection of meat-type chickens with these isolates either as embryos or as 1-day-old chicks resulted in the induction of erythroblastosis as well as myelocytomatosis. Other histopathological changes observed in the inoculated birds included neoplastic lesions such as cholangioma and testicular cell tumour, and non-neoplastic lesions such as lymphomyeloid hyperplasia. This report demonstrates that highly oncogenic ALV-J, capable of inducing a different spectrum of disease other than the widely reported myelocytomatosis, could be established in naturally infected flocks.

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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Viral Oncogenesis Group, Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 7NN, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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