The oesophageal tonsil of the chicken is a novel member of the mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), which is located around the entrance of the proventriculus. It consists of 6 to 8 single units, which are surrounded by a thin fibrous capsule. Each one is organised around the bottom of the longitudinal folds of the oesophagus, and serves as a 'tonsillar crypt'. Stratified squamous epithelium is infiltrated by lymphoid cells, i.e. T cells, plasma cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells, but not B cells, to form lymphoepithelium (LE). In the LE vimentin-, MHC II- and ATPase-positive cells possibly represent Langerhans' cells, but the appearance of 74.3 positive cells in the LE is unusual, because the 74.3 monoclonal antibody (mAb) recognises chicken follicular dendritic cells in the germinal centre and medulla of the bursal follicles. The subepithelial lymphoid tissue is organised into T- and B-dependent regions, which are the interfollicular areas and the germinal centres, respectively. Existence of high-endothelial venules in the interfollicular region suggests an extensive cellular connection between the oesophageal tonsil and the other lymphoid organs. In the resting oesophagus the lumen is closed, but during swallowing a bolus the crypt opens and the lymphoepithelium can be exposed to undigested food, antigens, infectious agents and vaccines. The location of the oesophageal tonsil, cranial to the stomach, may provide this organ with a unique role as compared to the other parts of the MALT; namely, it may contribute to the replication of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) and/or the pathogenesis of infectious bursal disease.
Parvovirus infection of Muscovy ducks caused by a genetically and antigenically distinct virus has been reported from Germany, France, Israel, Hungary, some Asian countries and the USA. The pathological changes include those of degenerative skeletal muscle myopathy and myocarditis, hepatitis, sciatic neuritis and polioencephalomyelitis. In the study presented here, day-old and 3-week-old goslings and Muscovy ducks were infected experimentally with three different parvovirus strains (isolates of D-216/4 from the classical form of Derzsy's disease, D-190/3 from the enteric form of Derzsy's disease, and strain FM from the parvovirus disease of Muscovy ducks). All three parvovirus strains caused severe disease in both day-old and 3-week-old Muscovy ducks but in the goslings only the two strains of goose origin (D-216/4 and D-190/3) caused disease with high (90-100%) mortality when infection was performed at day old. Strain FM (of Muscovy duck origin) did not cause any clinical signs or pathological lesions in the goslings. In the day-old goslings and Muscovy ducks the principal pathological lesions were severe enteritis with necrosis of the epithelial cells (enterocytes) of the mucous membrane and the crypts of Lieberkühn, and the formation of intranuclear inclusion bodies. Other prominent lesions included hepatitis and atrophy (lymphocyte depletion) of the lymphoid organs (bursa of Fabricius, thymus, spleen). In goslings infected with the strain originating from the classical form of Derzsy's disease mild myocarditis was also detected. After infection at three weeks of age, growth retardation, feathering disorders, myocardial lesions (degeneration of cardiac muscle cells, lympho-histiocytic infiltration) and hepatitis were the most prominent lesions in both geese and Muscovy ducks. In addition to the lesions observed in the geese, muscle fibre degeneration, mild sciatic neuritis and polioencephalomyelitis were also observed in the Muscovy ducks infected with any of the three parvovirus strains.
Epidemiological, pathological, serological and virological investigations are reported on turkey haemorrhagic enteritis virus (THEV) infection in Hungarian turkey flocks. The pathogenesis of infection in experimentally infected turkeys and chickens, as well as the usefulness of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/sequencing method for epidemiological investigation and for the differentiation of vaccine and field strains of THEV was also studied. Since the first recognition of the disease in Hungary in the late 1970s, until recently the disease has been diagnosed sporadically in its mild form. In the last few years (2000–2005), however, the number of outbreaks and the severity of the disease increased (9–23 affected flocks/year). Most of the outbreaks occurred at the age of 6 to 8 weeks and was complicated with
infection. The antibody levels to THEV in turkey flocks gradually declined till 5–7 weeks of age, and then they increased sharply due to natural infection with THEV. The immune response to vaccination (at 5 weeks of age) showed no significant antibody level increase one week postvaccination, but four weeks later the antibody level reached high values and then remained at this high level. The agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) test to detect turkey adenovirus A (TAdV-A) antigen and PCR methods for THEV-specific DNA gave similarly positive results if spleens with pathognomonic lesions were tested; however, PCR proved to be more sensitive in cases with less characteristic pathological lesions. Nucleotide sequence alignment of PCR products amplified from Hungarian field strains and the Domermuth vaccine strain and that of the published THEV hexon sequences in GenBank database revealed slight differences between the sequences.
The appearance of very virulent strains of infectious bursal disease (IBD) virus at the end of the 1980s made it necessary to develop more effective immunization procedures. To facilitate this, the immunogenicity and the immunosuppressive effect of a mild (G-87), an intermediate (LIBD) and an intermediate-plus (IBDV 2512) IBDV strain were tested after the in ovo inoculation of 18-day-old SPF and broiler chicken embryos. It was established that no noteworthy difference existed between the immunized and the control embryos in hatching rate and hatching weight. The higher the virulence of the vaccine virus strain, the more severe damage it caused to the lymphocytes of the bursa of Fabricius. In SPF chickens, the haemagglutination inhibition (HI) titres induced by a Newcastle disease (ND) vaccine administered at day old decreased in inverse ratio to the virulence of the IBD vaccine strain, while in broiler chickens this was not observed. Despite the decrease of the HI titre, the level of protection did not decline, or did so only after the use of the ‘hot’ strain. SPF chickens immunized in ovo with a complex vaccine prepared from strain IBDV 2512 and IBD antibody showed the same protection against Newcastle disease as the broilers. In broiler chicken embryos immunized in ovo, only strain IBDV 2512 induced antibody production, and such chickens were protected against IBD at 3 weeks of age. The complex vaccine administered in ovo has been used successfully at farm hatcheries as well.