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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2012 Jan;32(1):46-51. doi: 10.1089/jir.2011.0036. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Toll-like receptor 7 ligands inhibit influenza A infection in chickens.

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CSIRO Livestock Industries, Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.


Avian influenza virus is endemic in many regions around the world and remains a pandemic threat, a scenario tied closely to outbreaks of the virus in poultry. The innate immune system, in particular the nucleic acid-sensing toll-like receptors (TLRs) -3, -7, -8, and -9, play a major role in coordinating antiviral immune responses. In this study we have investigated the use of TLR ligands as antivirals against influenza A in chickens. The TLR7 ligand poly-C inhibited low-path influenza A growth in the chicken macrophage cell line HD-11 more effectively than poly(I:C), which acts via TLR3. The TLR7 ligand 7-allyl-8-oxoguanosine (loxoribine) inhibited influenza A replication in vitro and in ovo in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment of primary chicken splenocytes with loxoribine resulted in the induction of interferons-α, -β, and -λ, and interferon-stimulated genes PKR and Mx. These results demonstrate that nucleic acid-sensing TLR ligands show considerable potential as antivirals in chickens and could be incorporated into antiviral strategies.

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