Chicken immune response following in ovo delivery of bacterial flagellin

M.M. Vaezirad, M.G. Koene, J.A. Wagenaar, J.P.M. van Putten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In ovo immunization of chicken embryos with live vaccines is an effective strategy to protect chickens against several viral pathogens. We investigated the immune response of chicken embryos to purified recombinant protein. In ovo delivery of Salmonella flagellin to 18-day old embryonated eggs resulted in elevated pro-inflammatory chIL-6 and chIL-8 (CXCL8-CXCLi2) cytokine transcript levels in the intestine but not in the spleen at 24 h post-injection. Analysis of the chicken Toll-like receptor (TLR) repertoire in 19-day old embryos revealed gene transcripts in intestinal and spleen tissue for most chicken TLRs, including TLR5 which recognizes Salmonella flagellin (FliC). The in ovo administration of FliC did not alter TLR transcript levels, except for an increase in intestinal chTLR15 expression. Measurement of the antibody response in sera collected at day 11 and day 21 post-hatch demonstrated high titers of FliC-specific antibodies for the animals immunized at the late-embryonic stage in contrast to the mock-treated controls. The successful in ovo immunization with purified bacterial antigen indicates that the immune system of the chicken embryo is sufficiently mature to yield a strong humoral immune response after single exposure to purified protein. This finding strengthens the basis for the development of in ovo protein-based subunit vaccines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2139-2146
Issue number16
Early online date9 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018


  • Chicken
  • Flagellin
  • Humoral Response
  • In ovo immunization
  • Toll-like receptor
  • Vaccine


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