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Avian Dis. 1991 Oct-Dec;35(4):728-37.

Proliferation of chicken lymphoblastoid cells after in vitro infection with Marek's disease virus.

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Department of Avian and Aquatic Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.


Activated, thymus-derived (T) lymphoblasts were exposed to Marek's disease virus and cultivated in attempts to induce in vitro transformation. After 9 to 15 days, colonies or small clusters of proliferating lymphoblasts were observed in cultures from three of a total of 122 attempts. These developed into proliferating cell cultures that resembled conventional Marek's disease (MD) lymphoblastoid cell lines in terms of growth characteristics and morphology. All proliferative cultures were unusual in that 1) the expression of viral internal antigens consistently or periodically was very high (up to 30% of all cells) and 2) the cells deteriorated and/or proliferation ceased in all cases after culture periods of 45-176 days. The proliferative cultures were all characterized as CD2+ and CD3+, Ia-bearing T cells; one was CD4+/CD8- and TCR2+, the other two were CD4-/CD8- and TCR1+. The latter two are the only cultures of MD-infected cells known to be TCR1+.

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