Turkeys exposed to avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) subtype C showed extensive lymphoid cell infiltrations in the nasal turbinates of the upper respiratory tract. The cellular infiltration occurred after the first virus exposure but not after re-exposure. Quantitation of the relative proportions of mucosal immunoglobulin (Ig)A , IgG , and IgM cells in controls and virus-exposed turkeys revealed that at 7 days after the first virus exposure, when mucosal infiltration was well pronounced, there was a significant increase (P < 0.05) in the numbers of infiltrating IgA but not of IgG and IgM cells. After the second virus exposure, although the overall numbers of mucosal lymphoid cells were similar in the virus-exposed and control turkeys, the relative proportions of IgA and IgG cells were significantly higher in the virus-exposed turkeys (P < 0.05) than in controls. Furthermore, elevated levels of aMPV-specific IgA were detected in the nasal secretions and the bile of virus-exposed birds after the second but not after the first virus exposure. These results suggest, for the first time, the possible involvement of local mucosal immunoglobulins in the pathogenesis of aMPV in turkeys.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3