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Replication characteristics of infectious laryngotracheitis virus in the respiratory and conjunctival mucosa

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Avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) is an alphaherpesvirus of poultry that is spread worldwide. ILTV enters its host via the respiratory tract and the eyes. Although ILTV has been known for a long time, the replication characteristics of the virus in the respiratory and conjunctival mucosa are still poorly studied. To study these characteristics, two in vitro explant models were developed. Light microscopy and fluorescent terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end-labelling staining were used to evaluate the viability of mucosal explants, which were found to be viable up to the end of the experiment at 96 h of cultivation. The tracheal and conjunctival mucosal explants were inoculated with ILTV and collected at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h post inoculation (p.i.). ILTV spread in a plaque-wise manner in both mucosae. A reproducible quantitative analysis of this mucosal spread was evaluated by measuring plaque numbers, plaque latitude and invasion depth underneath the basement membrane. No major differences in plaque numbers were observed over time. Plaque latitude progressively increased to 70.4 ± 12.9 μm in the trachea and 97.8 ± 9.5 μm in the conjunctiva at 72 h p.i. The virus had difficulty crossing the basement membrane and was first observed only at 48 h p.i. The virus was observed at 72 h p.i. in 56% (trachea) and 74% (conjunctiva) of the plaques. Viability analysis of infected explants indicated that ILTV blocks apoptosis in infected cells of both mucosae but activates apoptosis in bystander cells.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Virology, Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium 2: Institute of Molecular Biology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Greifswald, Germany 3: Laboratory of Immunology–Vaccinology (B43b), Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium

Publication date: September 3, 2014

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