Course of infection and immune responses in the respiratory tract of IBV infected broilers after superinfection with E. coli

Mieke G. R. Matthijs*, Mark P. Ariaans, R. Marius Dwars, Jo H. H. van Eck, Annemarie Bouma, Arjan Stegeman, Lonneke Vervelde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colibacillosis results from infection with avian pathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria. Healthy broilers are resistant to inhaled E. coli, but previous infection with vaccine or virulent strains of Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) predisposes birds for severe colibacillosis. The aim of this study was to investigate how IBV affects the course of events upon infection with E. coli. Broilers were inoculated with IBV H120 vaccine virus or virulent M41 and challenged 5 days later with E. coli 506. A PBS and E. coli group without previous virus inoculation were included. Sections of trachea, lung and airsacs were stained for CD4, CD8, gamma delta-TCR, alpha beta 1-TCR, and for macrophages (KUL-01) and both pathogens. Changes in the mucociliary barrier of trachea, lung and airsacs did not predispose for bacterial superinfection. The disease in the lungs of the E. coli group and both IBV/E. coli groups was similar. Lesions in the airsacs were more pronounced and of longer duration in the IBV/E. coli groups. The immunocytological changes differed substantially between the E. coli group and both IBV/E. coli groups. In trachea, lungs and airsacs the CD4+ and CD8+ populations were significantly larger than in the E. coli and PBS groups. In the lungs and the airsacs the macrophages were more numerous in the IBV/E. coli and the E. coli groups than in the PBS group. The presence of high numbers of T cells and macrophages in IBV infected birds most likely induced an altered immune response, which is responsible for the enhanced clinical signs of colibacillosis. (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2009


  • Chicken
  • Immunology
  • Vaccine
  • Infection
  • IBV


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