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J Immunol Res. 2019 May 5;2019:6279360. doi: 10.1155/2019/6279360. eCollection 2019.

The Postembryonic Development of the Immunological Barrier in the Chicken Spleens.

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Key Laboratory of Antibody Techniques of National Health Commission, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, China.
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.


The avian immune system improves with the development of the lymphoid organs. The chickens' spleen serves as the largest peripheral lymphoid organ, but little immunological research has been conducted on that spleen during postembryonic development. We investigated the blood-spleen barrier (BSB) by developing morphological architecture, resistance to the corpuscular antigen, immunocyte distribution, gene expression levels of TLR2/4 and cytokines in the spleens of hatched chickens of differing ages. Results demonstrated that the resistance of exogenous carbon particles of the BSB improved with the morphological and structural development of the chicken spleens. The cuboidal endothelial cells which lined the sheathed capillaries were gradually visible, and the discontinuous basement membrane was thickened during postembryonic development. There was an increased number of T and B cells and antigen-presenting cells in the chicken spleen between hatching and adulthood. The mRNA expression levels of TLR2/4, IL-2, IFN-γ, and TNF-α were higher two weeks after hatching, but these decreased and remain stable between 21 and 60 days. As the age increased, the BSB developed structurally and functionally. Our findings provide a better understanding of splenic immune function and the pathogenesis of avian immunology in infectious diseases.

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