Introduction: Due to their immunostimulatory properties TLR ligands are used prophylactically to protect against a variety of viral and bacterial pathogens in mammals. Knowledge of the molecular and functional aspects of TLRs is essential for a better understanding of the immune system and resistance to diseases in birds. For that reason, this study attempted to determine the impact of TLR21 stimulation by its synthetic ligand (CpG ODN, class B) on the chicken immune system.
Material and Methods: Sixty embryonated chicken eggs were randomly allocated into three groups (control and two experimental groups). On day 18 of embryonic development, chickens in one experimental group were administered in ovo a low dose of CpG ODN and the birds of the second experimental group were given a high dose of the ligand. Spleens were collected at 1, 2, 5, and 10 days post-hatching (dph) for analysis of IFN-α, IFN-β, IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 expression using qRT-PCR.
Results: Significant differences were observed in mRNA expression levels of all the measured cytokines associated with the modulation and regulation of the immune response at different time points.
Conclusion: The obtained data clearly demonstrate that immune response induction takes place after in ovo administration of class B CpG ODN, and that the ligand has the ability to induce cytokine responses in neonatal chicken spleen.
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