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Soubies, Sebastien Mathieu; Courtillon, Celine; Abed, Mouna; Amelot, Michel; Keita, Alassane; Broadbent, Andrew; Härtle, Sonja; Kaspers, Bernd and Eterradossi, Nicolas (2018): Propagation and titration of infectious bursal disease virus, including non-cell-culture-adapted strains, using ex vivo-stimulated chicken bursal cells. In: Avian Pathology, Vol. 47, No. 2: pp. 179-188

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Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is a Birnaviridae family member of economic importance for poultry. This virus infects and destroys developing B lymphocytes in the cloacal bursa, resulting in a potentially fatal or immunosuppressive disease in chickens. Naturally occurring viruses and many vaccine strains are not able to grow in in vitro systems without prior adaptation, which often affects viral properties such as virulence. Primary bursal cells, which are the main target cells of lymphotropic IBDV in vivo, may represent an attractive system for the study of IBDV. Unfortunately, bursal cells isolated from bursal follicles undergo apoptosis within hours following their isolation. Here, we demonstrate that ex vivo stimulation of bursal cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate maintains their viability long enough to allow IBDV replication to high titres. A wide range of field-derived or vaccine serotype 1 IBDV strains could be titrated in these phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate -stimulated bursal cells and furthermore were permissive for replication of non-cell-culture-adapted viruses. These cells also supported multistep replication experiments and flow cytometry analysis of infection. Ex vivo-stimulated bursal cells therefore offer a promising tool in the study of IBDV.

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