Quantification and phenotypic characterisation of peripheral IFN-γ producing leucocytes in chickens vaccinated against Newcastle disease

S.H. Anderson, Lonneke Vervelde, Kate Sutton, L.R. Norup, E. Wattrang, H.R. Juul-Madsen, T. Dalgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to optimise and evaluate an intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assay for assessment of T cell IFN-γ responses in chickens vaccinated against Newcastle disease (ND). We aimed to validate currently available antibodies to chicken IFN-γ using transfected CHO cells. Moreover, this ICS assay was evaluated for use to detect mitogen and antigen induced IFN-γ production in chicken peripheral blood leucocytes.

Chickens from an inbred white leghorn line containing two MHC haplotypes, B19 and B21, were divided into three experimental groups; one group kept as naive controls, one group was vaccinated intramuscularly twice with a commercial inactivated ND virus (NDV) vaccine, and the last group was vaccinated orally twice with a commercial live attenuated NDV vaccine. PBMC were ex vivostimulated with ConA or with NDV antigen. The ICS assay was used to determine the phenotype and frequency of IFN-γ positive cells. ConA stimulation induced extensive IFN-γ production in both CD3+TCRγδ+ (γδ T cells) cells and CD3+TCRγδ− cells (αβ T cells), but no significant differences were observed between the experimental groups. Furthermore, a large proportion of the IFN-γ producing cells were CD3− indicating that other cells than classic T cells, secreted this cytokine. NDV antigen stimulation induced IFN-γ production but to a lower extent than ConA and with a large variation between individuals. The CD3+TCR1γδ−CD8α+ (CTL) population produced the highest NDV specific IFN-γ responses, with significantly elevated levels of IFN-γ producing cells in the B19 chickens vaccinated orally with live attenuated NDV vaccine. This was not the case in the B21 animals, indicating a haplotype restricted variation. In contrast, the CD3+TCR1γδ−CD4+ (Th) population did not show a significant increase in IFN-γ production in NDV stimulated samples which was in part due to a high number of IFN-γ producing cells after incubation with medium alone. In conclusion, an ICS assay for phenotyping of IFN-γ producing chicken leukocytes was set up that proved useful in identifying cytokine producing cells upon either mitogen or antigen-specific stimulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Early online date10 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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