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Kinetics of the immune response to Eimeria maxima in relatively resistant and susceptible chicken lines

Bremner, Abi; Kim, Sungwon; Morris, Katrina; Nolan, Matthew J; Borowska, Dominika; Wu, Zhiguang; Tomley, Fiona; Blake, Damer P; Hawken, Rachel; Kaiser, Pete; Vervelde, Lonneke


Abi Bremner

Sungwon Kim

Katrina Morris

Matthew J Nolan

Dominika Borowska

Zhiguang Wu

Fiona Tomley

Damer P Blake

Rachel Hawken

Pete Kaiser

Lonneke Vervelde


Damer Blake


Eimeria maxima is a common cause of coccidiosis in chickens, a disease which has a huge economic impact on poultry production. Knowledge of immunity to E. maxima and the specific mechanisms that contribute to differing levels of resistance observed between chicken breeds and between congenic lines derived from a single breed of chickens is required. This study aimed to define differences in the kinetics of the immune response of two inbred lines of White Leghorn chickens that exhibit differential resistance (line C.B12) or susceptibility (line 15I) to infection by E. maxima. Line C.B12 and 15I chickens were infected with E. maxima and transcriptome analysis of jejunal tissue was performed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 days post-infection (dpi). RNA-Seq analysis revealed differences in the rapidity and magnitude of cytokine transcription responses post-infection between the two lines. In particular, IFN-? and IL-10 transcripts in the jejunum accumulated earlier in line C.B12 (at 4 dpi) compared to line 15I (at 6 dpi). Line C.B12 chickens exhibited increases of IFNG and IL10 mRNA in the jejunum at 4 dpi, whereas in line 15I transcription was delayed but increased to a greater extent. RT-qPCR and ELISAs confirmed the results of the transcriptomic study. Higher serum IL-10 correlated strongly with higher E. maxima replication in line 15I compared to line C.B12 chickens. Overall, the findings suggest early induction of the IFN-? and IL-10 responses, as well as immune-related genes including IL21 at 4 dpi identified by RNA-Seq, may be key to resistance to E. maxima. ?


Bremner, A., Kim, S., Morris, K., Nolan, M. J., Borowska, D., Wu, Z., …Vervelde, L. (2021). Kinetics of the immune response to Eimeria maxima in relatively resistant and susceptible chicken lines. Frontiers in Immunology, 12,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 8, 2021
Publication Date Mar 25, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2021
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Article Number 653085
Keywords Eimeria; immune response; genetic resistance; interleukin-10; interferon
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