Abnormalities associated with the bursal microenvironment in spontaneous dysgammaglobulinemia of UCD line 140 chickens

Trevor J. Wilson, Judith A Van de Water, Richard L. Boyd, Hans Abplanalp, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


UCD line 140 chickens have been previously reported to develop a syndrome of spontaneous 7s immunoglobulin deficiency and the presence of autoantibodies. Earlier studies demonstrated that these inbred birds have normal peripheral blood T and B cell numbers; they also respond normally to allogeneic stimulation. Although the 7s immunodeficiency does not manifest itself until several months of age, line 140 birds have a premature degeneration of bursa. Because of the recent development of monoclonal reagents specific for bursal elements, including surface epithelium, basement membrane associated epithelium, follicle associated epithelium, and lymphoid subpopulations, we have examined line 140 and control birds for the expression of bursal epithelial cell antigens. Line 140 birds, in contrast to control chickens, have a dramatic early alteration in the expression of an epithelial cell marker in the bursa, thymus, and intestine. Moreover, to further address this issue, we transplanted bursa from 10-day embryos onto the chorioallantoic membrane, a privileged site. Bursae from control birds became abnormal when transplanted onto line 140 CAM; they remained normal when transplanted among several control chicken lines. In contrast, line 140 bursa remained abnormal independent of the transplant procedure. Due to the marked bursal abnormality observed specific to the dysgammaglobulinemia chicken line, we propose that the microenvironmental features of line 140 bursa may predispose these birds to the development of humoral immunodeficiency and autoantibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-221
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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