A multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was developed and optimized to simultaneously detect 6 avian respiratory pathogens. Six sets of specific oligonucleotide primers for infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), avian influenza virus (AIV), infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), and Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) were used respectively in the test. With the use of agarose gel electrophoresis for detection of the PCR-amplified DNA products, the sensitivity of detection was between 10 pg for IBV, AIV, MG, and ILTV and 100 pg for NDV and MS after 35 cycles of PCR. Similar sensitivity of these primers was achieved with chickens experimentally infected with respiratory pathogens. In experimental infections, the multiplex PCR was able to detect all the infected chickens in each group at 1 and 2 wk postinfection as compared with serologic tests at 2 wk postinfection that confirmed the presence of specific antibodies. The multiplex PCR was also able to detect and differentiate coinfections with two or more pathogens. No specific DNA amplification for respiratory avian pathogens was observed among noninoculated birds kept separately as a negative control group.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3