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Immunophenotyping of chicken peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations: Individual variability and repeatability

Fair, Jeanne M., Taylor-McCabe, Kirsten J., Shou, Yulin, Marrone, Babetta L.
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2008 v.125 no.3-4 pp. 268-273
chickens, immune system, blood, immunocompetence, immune response, phenotype, genetic variation, phenotypic variation, immunogenetics, biomarkers, antibodies, measurement, CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, flow cytometry, hematologic tests, validity, repeatability
T-cell lymphocyte populations can be delineated into subsets based on expression of cell surface proteins that can be measured in peripheral blood by monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry percentages of the lymphocyte subpopulations. In order to accurately assess immunocompetence in birds, natural variability in both avian immune function and the methodology must be understood. Our objectives were to (1) further develop flow cytometry for estimating subpopulations of lymphocytes in peripheral blood from poultry, (2) estimate repeatability and variability in the methodology with respect to poultry in a free-range and environmentally diverse situation, and (3) estimate the best antibody and cell marker combination for estimating lymphocyte subpopulations. This work demonstrated the repeatability of using flow cytometry for measurements of peripheral blood in chickens using anti-chicken antibodies for lymphocyte subpopulations. Immunofluorescence staining of cells isolated from peripheral blood revealed that the CD3⁺ antibodies reacted with an average of approximately 12-24% of the lymphoid cells in the blood, depending on the fluorescence type. The CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ molecules were expressed in a range of 4-31% and 1-10% of the lymphoid cells in the blood, respectively. Both fluorescence label and antibody company contribute to the variability of results and should be considered in future flow cytometry studies in poultry.