Genotype-associated differences in bursal recovery after infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) inoculation
T-cell immune responses were shown to play an important role in the regulation of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) replication and development of lesions in the bursa of Fabricius (BF) (bursal lesions) but also in the recovery from the infection. Studies suggested that the host-genotype influences T-cell responses during the acute phase of infection. Genotype-related differences in the recovery phase were not investigated so far. The present study used commercial broiler- (BT), layer- (LT), dual-purpose type (DT) chicken lines as well as a specific pathogen free (SPF) LT chicken as a reference for comparison of T-cell related differences in IBDV-immunopathogenesis not only in the early phase post inoculation (pi) but also in the recovery phase. The Deventer formula was used to determine the optimal time point of inoculation with an intermediate plus IBDV strain when maternally derived antibody (MDA) titers were below the calculated breakthrough level of the virus for all genotypes. Differences in the bursal lesion development, intrabursal CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell accumulation and numbers of IBDV-positive cells were determined. In addition, anti-IBDV antibody development and the relative amount of anti-inflammatory cytokine mRNA were recorded until 28 days post IBDV inoculation. Differences between the genotypes were observed in the duration and magnitude of bursal lesions, CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell infiltration as well as the presence of anti-inflammatory Interleukin (IL)-10 and Transforming growth factor (TGF) β4 cytokine mRNA (P < 0.05). While the investigated immune parameters were comparable between the genotypes at seven days pi, during 14, 21 and 28 days pi a delayed recovery process in LT and DT chickens compared to BT chickens was observed (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the age and residual MDA levels had a genotype-dependent influence on the onset of the anti-IBDV specific humoral and T-cell mediated immune responses. This study suggests, that the impact of T-cell immunity on the recovery process after IBDV infection may need to be considered further for the development of new breeding programs for disease resistant chicken lines.