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Virology. 2009 Oct 25;393(2):250-7. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.08.001. Epub 2009 Sep 4.

Induction of innate host responses in the lungs of chickens following infection with a very virulent strain of Marek's disease virus.

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Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


The natural route of entry of Marek's disease virus (MDV) is via the respiratory system. However, little is known about host-virus interactions in the lungs. The objective of the present study was to examine MDV replication and induction of innate host responses in the lungs of chickens infected through inhalation. Replication of MDV in lungs was detectable as early as 12 hours post-infection (hpi). The expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR)3 and TLR7 genes was enhanced in response to MDV infection in the lungs. This was associated with the up-regulation of interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-8 genes. In response to MDV infection, the number of macrophages in lungs of infected chickens was significantly higher compared to uninfected control chickens. The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene was also significantly higher in the lungs at 72 hpi following MDV infection. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates induction of innate host responses to MDV infection in the respiratory system. Further studies are needed to characterize other host responses generated in the lungs following MDV infection.

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