A pathogenic isolate of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) caused persistent and extensive lesions in the bursa but mild and transient lesions in the thymuses of chickens of lines 63 and P. The effect of IBDV on two cellular immune functions, namely, natural killer cell cytotoxicity and mitogenic response, was studied. The natural killer cell activity was not consistently influenced, but the virus, during the first 2 weeks of infection, caused transient depression of the blastogenic response of spleen cells to phytohemagglutinin. Studies on mitogenic hyporesponsiveness revealed that the functional impairment was mediated by a suppressor cell was adherent to plastic, was phagocytic, and resisted treatment with antithymocyte and antibursa cell sera. Removal of suppressor cells from the spleens of virus-infected chickens resulted in restoration of the mitogenic response of cells. Further, in mixing experiments, the suppressor cell isolated from the spleens of virus-infected chickens also inhibited the mitogenic response of normal spleen cells. We concluded that reduced mitogenic response of lymphocytes in IBDV-infected chickens was not due to a lack of functional T-cells, as suggested previously by others, but was due to macrophage-like suppressor cells. The suppressor cells, although present in certain normal chickens, became activated during early stages of IBDV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases