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Avian Pathol. 2012 Dec;41(6):613-20. doi: 10.1080/03079457.2012.745641.

An experimental study of the pathogenicity of a duck hepatitis A virus genotype C isolate in specific pathogen free ducklings.

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College of Life Science and Technology, Southwest University for Nationalities, Chengdu, Sichuan, People's Republic of China.


Duck hepatitis A virus genotype C (DHAV-C), recognized recently, is one of the pathogens causing fatal duck viral hepatitis in ducklings, especially in Asia. To demonstrate the pathogenesis of the DHAV-C isolate, 3-day-old specific pathogen free ducklings were inoculated subcutaneously with a DHAV-C isolate and the clinical signs were observed. Virus distribution, histological and apoptotic morphological changes of various tissues were examined at different times post inoculation. The serial, characteristic changes included haemorrhage and swelling of the liver. Apoptotic cells and virus antigen staining were found in all of the tissues examined. Where more virus antigen staining was detected, there were more severe histopathological and apoptotic changes. The amount of virus antigen and the histological and apoptotic morphological changes agreed with each other and became increasingly severe with length of time after infection. Apoptotic cells were ubiquitously distributed, especially among lymphocytes, macrophages and monocytes in immune organs such as the bursa of Fabricius, thymus and spleen, and in liver, kidney and cerebral cells. Necrosis was also observed within 72 h post inoculation in all organs examined, except the cerebrum, and was characterized by cell swelling and collapsed plasma membrane. These results suggest that the recent outbreak of disease caused by DHAV-C virus is pantropic, causing apoptosis and necrosis of different organs. The apoptosis and necrosis caused by the DHAV-C field strain in this study is associated with pathogenesis and DHAV-C-induced lesions.

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