In situ immunocytochemical staining was used to characterise leukocyte changes and determine tropism of infectious bursal disease virus following infection of neonate and 3-week-old chickens. In the bursae of both groups, massive replication of the virus, a rapid depletion of B cells and an influx of CD4(+)TCR-alpha beta(1)(+) and CD8(+) TCR-alpha beta(1)(+) cells was detected within 4 days post-inoculation. Leukocyte changes in the spleen, thymus and Harderian gland were similar in both groups. From 8 days post-inoculation onwards all the lymphoid organs became repopulated with leukocytes and tissue architecture began to be slowly restored. Virus neutralizing antibodies developed more slowly in neonate birds and at 21 days post-inoculation the titres were much lower compared to older birds. Lack of clinical signs in neonate chickens was neither due to a failure to respond to the virus, to recruit leukocytes to the infected tissues nor to a lack of viral replication.
- NEUTRALIZING ANTIBODY