Absence of protection against challenge with aspergillus fumigatus by adoptive transfer of splenocytes from convalescent turkeys


Kunkle RA, Rimler RB, Steadham EM
Avian Dis. 1999;43(4):678-84


Only limited protective immunity against aspergillosis after experimental immunization of turkeys has been previously demonstrated. No studies evaluating the efficacy of transfer of immunity in preventing aspergillosis in birds have been reported. This study consisted of two trials assessing the level of protection against Aspergillus fumigatus challenge afforded by transfer of splenocytes from convalescent turkeys. Three treatment groups of 12-to-14-wk-old Beltsville small white (BSW) turkeys comprising the splenocyte donors were prepared by one of the following: 1) intra-air sac (IA) challenge with A. fumigatus conidia 5 wk prior to transfer; 2) IA challenge and then intravenous (i.v.) injection of killed conidia 1 wk prior to transfer; or 3) sham inoculations. Splenocytes from each group were pooled, enriched for mononuclear leukocytes by density gradient centrifugation, and diluted in cell culture medium (CM). Cell viability was assessed by dye exclusion. Each splenocyte preparation was administered intravenously to one of three recipient groups consisting of 10 BSW turkeys each. A control group (n = 10) was given cell-free CM. Recipients were challenged with viable A. fumigatus conidia 16 hr after splenocyte transfer by unilateral IA (trial 1) or i.v. (trial 2) inoculation. Lesion scores postchallenge revealed no differences between turkeys given splenocytes from convalescent vs. naive (control) turkeys. IA exposure produced ipsilateral lesions in air sacs and lung, whereas i.v. exposure produced severe miliary hepatitis. Donor cell function was confirmed by mitogen blastogenesis; however, cells were nonresponsive to A. fumigatus antigens, regardless of previous exposure status.