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Investigating the neuroinvasive mechanism of HPAI virus entry into chickens

A. J. Chaves, N. Busquets, R. Valle, R. Rivas, J. Vergara-Alert, R. Dolz, A. Ramis, A. Darji, N. Majó

THE central nervous system (CNS) has been described as one of the main target organs affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). This study investigated the mechanism of neuroinvasion of HPAI virus (HPAIV) into the CNS of chickens.

Seventeen, 15 day-old chickens were inoculated intranasally with a single H7N1 HPAIV strain, while 12 controls were inoculated with phosphate buffered saline. On days 1 to 4 after infection, three chickens from each group were randomly selected for postmortem examination and sampling of blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the nasal cavity and brain tissue. The topographical distribution of viral antigens, presence of influenza A virus receptors in the brain, and the role of the olfactory route in the viral invasion of the CNS, were studied using different immunohistochemistry techniques. HPAIV RNA load in the blood and CSF was quantified using real-time RT-PCR.

Viral antigen was observed to be widely distributed in the CNS, showing bilateral and symmetrical distribution in the nuclei of the diencephalon, mesencephalon and rhombencephalon. Viral RNA was detected in blood and CSF …

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