Reproducibility of swollen sinuses in broilers by experimental infection with avian metapneumovirus subtypes A and B of turkey origin and their comparative pathogenesis

Clinic for Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany.
Avian Pathology (Impact Factor: 1.64). 03/2008; 37(1):65-74. DOI: 10.1080/03079450701802222
Source: PubMed


Swollen head syndrome (SHS) associated with avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) subtype A or subtype B in broilers and broiler breeders has been reported worldwide. Data about pathogenesis of aMPV subtypes A and B in broilers are scarce. It has been difficult to reproduce swollen sinuses in chickens with aMPV under experimental conditions. In the field, SHS in broilers is suspected to be induced by combined infections with different respiratory pathogens. The objectives of the present study were to compare the pathogenesis of subtypes A and B aMPV in commercial broilers and to investigate the reproducibility of clinical disease. In two repeat experiments, commercial broilers free of aMPV maternal antibodies were inoculated with aMPV subtypes A and B of turkey origin. The clinical signs such as depression, coughing, nasal exudates, and frothy eyes appeared at 4 days post inoculation, followed by swelling of periorbital sinuses at 5 days post inoculation. Higher numbers of broilers showed clinical signs in subtype-B-inoculated compared with subtype-A-inoculated groups. Seroconversion to aMPV was detectable from 10 to 11 days post inoculation. The appearance of serum aMPV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antibodies and the clearance of the aMPV genome coincided. Subtype B aMPV showed a broader tissue distribution and longer persistence than subtype A. Histopathological changes were observed in the respiratory tract tissues of aMPV-inoculated broilers, and also in paraocular glands, such as the Harderian and lachrymal glands. Overall, our study shows that representative strains of both aMPV turkey isolates induced lesions in the respiratory tract, accompanied by swelling of infraorbital sinuses, indicating the role of aMPV as a primary pathogen for broilers.

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