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Phenotypic characterization of Eimeria tenella-specific chicken Tcells responding to in vitro parasite antigen re-stimulation

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  • Eva Wattrang, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, Sweden
  • Anna Lunden, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, Sweden
  • Osama Ibrahim, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden
  • ,
  • Tina Sørensen Dalgaard
Introduction. Coccidiosis, caused by protozoan parasites of genus Eimeria, is a disease with large impact on poultry production worldwide. It is well known that Eimeria immunity is dependent on Th1-type responses.

Gap Statement. In vitro assessment of Eimeria-specific T-cell activity would therefore be a valuable research tool but has so far proven difficult to establish.

Aim. The present study aimed to evaluate in vitro induced blast transformation and CD25 expression in defined chicken T-cell populations as a measure of Eimeria immunity.

Methodology. Three E. tenella infection experiments were performed and PBMC and/or spleen cells were collected between 6 and 16 days after infection of chickens. Cells were stimulated in vitro with E. tenella antigens and T-cell activation was assessed by immunofluorescence labelling and flow cytometry.

Results. The results consistently showed statistically significant E. tenella specific activation of TCRα/β+T cells within a ‘window’ from 8 to 14 days after infection for both spleen cells and PBMC. Responding T-cells were identified as CD4+CD8-, CD4+CD8αα+ and CD4-CD8αβ+ where the CD4+CD8αα+ cells generally showed the highest responses. All three of these TCRα/βT-cell subsets showed significant E. tenella induced blast transformation and/or CD25 expression albeit not always in concert on the same days after infection indicating complex kinetics of T-cell responses. In general, responses were higher for spleen cells compared to PBMC for all responding T-cell populations.

Conclusions. This methodology shows promise to study Eimeria-specific T-cells, e.g. to evaluate vaccine responses. Results indicated that a Th1-type response was induced and suggested a role for CD4+CD8αα+ cells in Eimeria immunity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number001650
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

    Research areas

  • blast transformation, CD25 expression, chicken, Eimera tenella, T-cell subpopulations

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