Infectious laryngotracheitis of chickens: Pathologic and immunohistochemistry findings

Silvia Carnaccini, Chiara Palmieri, Simone Stoute, Manuela Crispo, H. L. Shivaprasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is an important upper respiratory disease of chickens. Gross and histologic lesions of ILT in chickens are compared to immunohistochemistry to evaluate the diagnostic test sensitivity. A total of 31 separate ILT-confirmed necropsy submissions (12 commercial meat-type flocks, 13 egg-type producers, and 6 backyard flocks) were arbitrarily selected. Each submission ranged from 1 to 18 birds, for a total of 246 chickens. Cases with available formalin-fixed tissues were selected to include a range of bird production types, ages, clinical histories, and severity of macroscopic and histologic lesions. Macroscopic findings in the respiratory tract varied from increased mucus (55.6%) to fibrinonecrotic exudate (20.3%) and hemorrhages in the larynx and trachea (13.0%). Syncytia with intranuclear inclusion bodies were present in the respiratory tract epithelium with or without hemorrhages. Sections of conjunctiva, sinus, larynx, trachea, lung, and air sac were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) to detect gallid alphaherpesvirus 1 (GaHV-1) antigen. Positive immunolabeling was detected in the cytoplasm and nuclei of syncytia and epithelial cells in 18/22 conjunctivae (82%), 12/13 sinuses (92%), 18/22 larynxes (82%), 23/25 tracheas (92%), 10/21 lungs (57%), and 3/8 air sacs (37%). Of the 34 tissues with no visible syncytia or inclusion bodies, 8 were positive by IHC. In conclusion, IHC was useful to study the viral antigen tissue distribution and support the diagnosis of ILT when the histopathologic interpretation was doubtful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary pathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • chicken
  • gallid alphaherpesvirus 1
  • immunohistochemistry
  • infectious laryngotracheitis
  • pathology
  • poultry
  • respiratory system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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