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Influence of vaccination with CVI988/Rispens on load and replication of a very virulent Marek's disease virus strain in feathers of chickens

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Several highly efficacious vaccines are currently available for control of Marek's disease, a lymphoproliferative disease in chickens. However, these vaccines are unable to prevent infection with Marek's disease virus (MDV) in vaccinated birds. This leads to shedding of virulent MDV from feather follicle epithelium and skin epithelial cells of vaccinated and infected chickens. The objective of the present study was to study the interactions between a vaccine strain (CVI988/Rispens) and a very virulent strain of MDV (RB1B) in feathers. We examined genome load and replication of CVI988 and MDV-RB1B strains at various time points post infection. Moreover, we evaluated cytokine expression in feathers as indicators of immunity generated in response to vaccines against MDV. Analysis of feathers collected between 4 and 21 days post infection (d.p.i.) revealed a steady level of CVI988 genome load in the presence or absence of RB1B. Infection with MDV resulted in a significant increase in RB1B genome load peaking at 14 d.p.i. Importantly, vaccination with CVI988 resulted in a significant reduction in accumulation of MDV-RB1B in feathers. RB1B genome accumulation in feather tips was associated with increased expression of interferon-α at 14 d.p.i. and interferon-Sγ at earlier time points, 4 and 7 d.p.i. compared with 10 and 14 d.p.i. Interleukin-10 and interleukin-6 were up-regulated at 14 d.p.i. in the infected groups. This study expands our understanding of the dynamics of replication of vaccine and virulent MDV strains in the feathers and illuminates mechanisms associated with immunity to Marek's disease.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathobiology,Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario,N1G 2W1, Canada 2: Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta,T2N 1N4, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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