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Development of innate immunity in chicken embryos and newly hatched chicks: a disease control perspective

Alkie, Tamiru N., Yitbarek, Alexander, Hodgins, Douglas C., Kulkarni, Raveendra R., Taha-Abdelaziz, Khaled, Sharif, Shayan
Avian pathology 2019 v.48 no.4 pp. 288-310
adaptive immunity, antigen detection, antigens, chemokines, chick embryos, chickens, chicks, developmental stages, disease control, epigenetics, genes, innate immunity, metagenomics, microorganisms, ontogeny, pathogens, receptors, signal transduction
Newly hatched chickens are confronted by a wide array of pathogenic microbes because their adaptive immune defences have limited capabilities to control these pathogens. In such circumstances, and within this age group, innate responses provide a degree of protection. Moreover, as the adaptive immune system is relatively naïve to foreign antigens, synergy with innate defences is critical. This review presents knowledge on the ontogeny of innate immunity in chickens pre-hatch and early post-hatch and provides insights into possible interventions to modulate innate responses early in the life of the bird. As in other vertebrate species, the chicken innate immune system which include cellular mediators, cytokine and chemokine repertoires and molecules involved in antigen detection, develop early in life. Comparison of innate immune systems in newly hatched chickens and mature birds has revealed differences in magnitude and quality, but responses in younger chickens can be boosted using innate immune system modulators. Functional expression of pattern recognition receptors and several defence molecules by innate immune system cells of embryos and newly hatched chicks suggests that innate responses can be modulated at this stage of development to combat pathogens. Improved understanding of innate immune system ontogeny and functionality in chickens is critical for the implementation of sound and safe interventions to provide long-term protection against pathogens. Next-generation tools for studying genetic and epigenetic regulation of genes, functional metagenomics and gene knockouts can be used in the future to explore and dissect the contributions of signalling pathways of innate immunity and to devise more efficacious disease control strategies.