Chickens of 2 genetic lines (lines P and N) were inoculated with a pathogenic strain of Marek's disease (MD) virus (MDV) and chronologically examined for disease response and natural killer (NK) cell expression. The NK cell reactivity was assayed in an in vitro cytotoxicity assay in which effector cells from the spleen of test chickens were reacted with 51Cr-labeled LSCC-RP9 target cells. Chickens of line P developed progressive debilitating disease and a high incidence of gross tumors and death. The NK cell reactivity of line-P chickens infected with MDV was significantly lower than that of uninfected control hatchmates. In contrast, NK cell levels were significantly elevated in MDV-inoculated line-N chickens that were resistant to MD and in chickens of lines P or N that had been inoculated with herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT). NK cell levels were also elevated in line P if chickens were vaccinated with HVT before infection with MDV. Inhibition of NK reactivity in susceptible chickens and elevation of reactivity in naturally resistant or vaccinated chickens may indicate a role for the NK cell system in regulating resistance to MD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)