Naranjo Nunez, Luis F.
Santander-Parra, Silvana H.
Kyriakidis, Nicolaos C.
Astolfi-Ferreira, Claudete S.
Buim, Marcos R.
De la Torre, David
Piantino Ferreira, Antonio J.
Total Authors: 7
 Univ Sao Paulo, Sch Vet Med, Dept Pathol, Av Prof Dr Orlando M Paiva 87, BR-05508270 Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil
 Univ Las Amer UDLA, Fac Ciencias Salud, Carrera Med Vet, Av Jose Queri, Quito 170513 - Ecuador
 Univ Las Amer UDLA, Fac Ciencias Salud, Grp Invest Biotecnol Aplicada Biomed BIOMED, Carrera Med, Quito 170504 - Ecuador
 Biol Inst, Av Gaspar Ricardo 1700, BR-17690000 Bastos, SP - Brazil
Simple Summary Poultry production in Brazil is a very important economic activity that provides chicken meat and eggs to global markets. Chicken astrovirus is an enteric virus related to enteric problems in chickens of several ages, but which primarily affects young chickens. Chicken astrovirus has been associated with white chick syndrome (WCS) worldwide. The objective of this investigation is to detect and molecularly characterize chicken astrovirus (CAstV) associated with WCS, determine the macroscopic and microscopic lesions and cytokine expression in the jejunum, liver, spleen and thymus of chicks naturally infected with WCS. White chick syndrome (WCS) is an emergent disease that affects hatchability and hatched chicks, resulting in high mortality and economic losses, and is related to chicken astrovirus (CAstV). This syndrome has been reported in several countries worldwide, and groupsA iiiandB viof CAstV have been determined; however, in Brazil, the virus has not been genotyped. The innate immunity of chicks affected by WCS or any CAstV is poorly understood and studied, and it is important to determine whether relative cytokine expression occurs during the early stages of the life of chicks. The aim of the present investigation is to detect and molecularly characterize CAstV associated with WCS, examine the macroscopic and microscopic lesions in the jejunum and spleen, and determine cytokine expression in the jejunum, liver, spleen and thymus of chicks naturally infected with WCS. To do so, we applied a pathological and molecular approach for CAstV detection and characterization, as well as the quantification of the relative mRNA expression of several cytokine genes. The phylogenetic analyses of the sequences obtained herein classified CAstV as uniquely belonging to groupB iv, showing a high similarity of nucleotides (NT) (75.7-80.6%) and amino acids (AA) (84.2-89.9%) with the members of groupBand a low similarity of NT (46.7-47.9%) and AA (37.8-38.9%) with the virus belonging in groupA. CAstV was also detected and quantified in the serum, spleen, thymus and jejunum, the latter being the organ where CAstV had the highest viral concentration. However, this organ did not present any microscopical alterations. In contrast, we observed necrotic hepatitis in the liver of the affected subjects. On the other hand, we observed the activation of several T helper 1 (Th1)- and T helper 2 (Th2)-cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-8, IL-12p40, IL-15, TGF-beta 4, TNF-SF-15andt-BET), without being able to control the viral replication due to the high concentration of viral particles in some organs, principally in the gut. One possible role of these cytokines is contributing to the control of inflammation and cell protection of intestinal cells, principally during the early activation of immune responses. However, the fact that these responses are not mature enough to control the viral infection means that more studies need to be carried out to elucidate this topic. (AU)