The pathophysiology of astrovirus infection in hatchling turkeys

Thouvenelle, Mari
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Veterinary Pathology
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Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of astrovirus infection in hatchling turkeys. Additionally, the lectin-binding affinities of the small intestinal glycocalyx were investigated by direct biotin-strep-avidin technique in poults;Two to 5 day old poults were inoculated orally with astrovirus. Poults were examined on days 0.5 to 14 post inoculation (PI). Histopathological changes were documented by computerized image analysis, localization of virus was accomplished by transmission electron microscopy, and specific maltase activity was determined by intestinal disaccharidase analysis. Poults on days 2 through 10 post inoculation (PI) had diarrhea, generalized loss of intestinal tone and dilatated ceca containing fluid to semi-solid feces and gas. Progressive mild crypt hyperplasia was noted 1 day PI in the proximal jejunum and by day 3 in the distal jejunum and ileum. The duodenum was affected on days 5 and 7 PI. Significant (P .05) was detected in SMA levels in inoculated versus control poults. However by day 14 PI, SMA levels were increased in all sections of the small intestine of inoculated poults, except the proximal jejunum;There was no definitive staining of the glycocalyx with any of the 15 lectins evaluated, irrespective of regional location or age;Experimental astrovirus produced typical clinical signs and gross lesions associated with enteric disease. Only subtle histopathological changes were noted, however significant and consistent morphometric changes were documented. Astrovirus appeared to replicate in villous enterocytes of the distal small intestine. Maldigestion was the primary pathogenic effect in the small intestine. The small intestine of young poults does not have a definitive histochemical lectin-binding pattern based on this study.

Veterinary pathology