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Avian Pathol. 2003 Oct;32(5):495-502.

Effects of cyclosporin A on the immune responses and pathogenesis of a virulent strain of Mycoplasma gallisepticum in chickens.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, South Wirral, CH64 7TE, UK.


Immune responses to the virulent S6 strain of Mycoplasma gallisepticum in immunocompetent and cyclosporin A (CsA)-treated specific pathogen free chickens were investigated, and pathogenesis of the M. gallisepticum strain was also examined. Ten-day-old specific pathogen free chickens were inoculated by eye-drop with M. gallisepticum, and a control uninfected group was inoculated with mycoplasma broth. Blood was collected weekly for 4 weeks from five birds in each group and whole blood lymphocyte transformation assayed against concanavalin A and lipopolysaccharide. Blood samples were also collected at intervals for serological assays. Live body weight, clinical signs and lesions were monitored, and recovery of M. gallisepticum was attempted from choanal cleft of live birds and also from various sites at necropsy. In parallel to the aforementioned groups, another set of two groups of chicks treated with CsA was infected with M. gallisepticum S6 or mycoplasma broth. These groups were subjected to the same experimental procedures. In the immunocompetent chickens, M. gallisepticum caused temporary T-cell suppression at 2 weeks post-infection. Comparison of the clinical signs and macroscopic lesions produced in immunocompetent and CsA-treated chickens indicated that T cells may not play an active role in disease development. The percentage of birds with mycoplasma isolation and the load of mycoplasmas suggested that T cells may have some role in resisting mycoplasma colonization or in the elimination of the infection.

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