The bird’s immune response to avian pathogenic Escherichia coli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) cause colibacillosis in birds, a syndrome of severe respiratory and systemic disease that constitutes a major threat due to early mortality, condemnation of carcasses and reduced productivity. APEC can infect different types of birds in all commercial settings, and birds of all ages although disease tends to be more severe in younger birds likely a consequence of an immature immune system. APEC can act as both primary and secondary
pathogens, with predisposing factors for secondary infections including poor housing conditions, respiratory viral and Mycoplasma spp. infections or vaccinations. Controlled studies with APEC as a primary pathogen have been used to study the bird’s immune response to APEC, although it may not
always be representative of natural infections which may be more complex due to the presence of secondary agents, stress and environmental factors. Under controlled experimental conditions, a strong early innate immune response is induced which includes host defence peptides in mucus and a cellular response driven by heterophils and macrophages. Both antibody and T-cell mediated
adaptive responses have been demonstrated after vaccination. In this review we will discuss the bird’s immune response to APEC as primary pathogen with a bias towards the innate immune response as mechanistic adaptive studies clearly form a much more limited body of work despite numerous vaccine trials.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAvian Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021


  • APEC
  • E. coli
  • avian,
  • chicken
  • adaptive
  • immunity
  • vaccine


Dive into the research topics of 'The bird’s immune response to avian pathogenic Escherichia coli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this