Immune responses to an Eimeria acervulina infection in different broilers lines

W.J.C. Swinkels, J. Post, J.B.W.J. Cornelissen, B. Engel, W.J.A. Boersma, J.M.J. Rebel

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The (T-cell) immune responses of two different broiler lines to a primary Eimeria acervulina infection were investigated. The lines used were a commercial fast-growing broiler line and a slow-growing type of broiler as used in organic farming. Seven-day-old broilers of both lines were infected with 5 × 104 oocysts of E. acervulina. The animals were weighed and a species-specific real-time PCR was used to quantify the total amount of parasites in the duodenum. In the fast-growing line, a lower parasite load was seen from day 4 onwards compared to the slow-growing line. In both lines the intestinal peak of Eimeria DNA was observed at day 5 post infection (p.i.). In the duodenum no increase in CD4+ T-cells was found in both infected lines, but a fast increase in CD8+ T-cells was observed in the fast-growing line. At day 3 p.i. in the slow-growing broilers an IL-18 mRNA response was observed. At day 4 p.i. strong IFN-¿ and IL-8 mRNA responses were found in both lines. No IL-4 mRNA responses were found in the duodenum. In conclusion, both lines have different growth rates and control and infected conditions. Based on the kinetics of observed phenomena a primary infection with E. acervulina in 7-day-old broilers seems to generate an early CD8¿+ response in fast-growing broilers compared to the slow-growing broilers. This difference in immune reaction after an E. acervulina infection could result in a different Eimeria load in the duodenum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • vaccination strategies
  • commercial broiler
  • avian coccidiosis
  • t-lymphocytes
  • subpopulations
  • resistance
  • chickens
  • complex
  • time
  • cell


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