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The NS segment of H5N1 avian influenza viruses (AIV) enhances the virulence of an H7N1 AIV in chickens

AuthorsVergara-Alert, Júlia; Busquets, Núria; Ballester, María ; Chaves, Aida; Rivas, Raquel; Dolz, Roser; Wang, Zhongfang; Pleschka, Stephan; Majó, Natàlia; Rodríguez, Fernando; Darji, Ayub
Issue Date25-Jan-2014
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationVeterinary Research. 45(1):7 (2014)
AbstractAbstract Some outbreaks involving highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) of subtypes H5 and H7 were caused by avian-to-human transmissions. In nature, different influenza A viruses can reassort leading to new viruses with new characteristics. We decided to investigate the impact that the NS-segment of H5 HPAIV would have on viral pathogenicity of a classical avian H7 HPAIV in poultry, a natural host. We focussed this study based on our previous work that demonstrated that single reassortment of the NS-segment from an H5 HPAIV into an H7 HPAIV changes the ability of the virus to replicate in mammalian hosts. Our present data show that two different H7-viruses containing an NS-segment from H5–types (FPV NS GD or FPV NS VN) show an overall highly pathogenic phenotype compared with the wild type H7–virus (FPV), as characterized by higher viral shedding and earlier manifestation of clinical signs. Correlating with the latter, higher amounts of IFN-β mRNA were detected in the blood of NS-reassortant infected birds, 48 h post-infection (pi). Although lymphopenia was detected in chickens from all AIV-infected groups, also 48 h pi those animals challenged with NS-reassortant viruses showed an increase of peripheral monocyte/macrophage-like cells expressing high levels of IL-1β, as determined by flow cytometry. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of the NS-segment in viral pathogenicity which is directly involved in triggering antiviral and pro-inflammatory cytokines found during HPAIV pathogenesis in chickens.
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