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1 September 2008 Experimental Infection of Domestic Pigeons with Pigeon Circovirus
Volker Schmidt, Julian Schlömer, Caroline Lüken, Reimar Johne, Barbara Biere, Hermann Müller, Maria-Elisabeth Krautwald-Junghanns
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Pigeon circovirus (PiCV) infection and young pigeon disease syndrome (YPDS), associated with high morbidity and mortality, have been recognized in young racing pigeons from large portions of Central Europe. There exist a number of data indicating that YPDS is a consequence of PiCV infection and subsequent immunosuppression. In order to prove PiCV to be one of the crucial factors of YPDS, an experimental infection with PiCV was performed under controlled conditions. Twenty-four domestic pigeons (Columba livia forma domestica) were divided into two groups with 12 pigeons each; an infection group and a control group. All birds were between their fourth to eighth week of life. Pigeons in the infection group were infected both intramuscularly and orally with PiCV purified from naturally infected birds, while pigeons in the control group received a placebo. To test a possible influence of the PiCV infection on the immune system, the animals in both groups were vaccinated simultaneously, on the same day, against PMV-1 (Lasovac plus®, IDT, Dessau-Tornau, Germany). Weekly virologic testing showed a viraemic period, and excretion of the infection virus, in pigeons in the infection group. Replication of PiCV could be proved on the basis of histologic findings of multiglobular inclusion bodies, mainly observed in macrophages of the bursa of Fabricius. A PiCV, genetically distinct from the experimental virus, was detected in the control group by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, but any histologic findings comparable to the infection group were absent. None of the pigeons revealed clinical signs of illness, or hints that immunosuppression had occurred, regardless of their group. The absence of stressful conditions, considered as a trigger for the development of YPDS, may be responsible for the failure of disease reproduction in our infection model.

Infección experimental de palomas domésticas con circovirus de las palomas.

La infección por circovirus de las palomas y el síndrome de la paloma joven, ambas asociadas con alta morbilidad y mortalidad, se han detectado en palomas de carrera jóvenes en amplias áreas de Europa central. Existe información indicando que el síndrome de la paloma joven es una consecuencia de la infección con circovirus de las palomas que induce una subsecuente inmunosupresión. Con la finalidad de comprobar si la infección con circovirus de las palomas es uno de los factores cruciales para la aparición del síndrome de la paloma joven, se realizó una infección experimental bajo condiciones controladas. Se dividieron 24 palomas domésticas (Columba livia forma domestica) en dos grupos de 12; un grupo infectado y un grupo control. Todas las aves estaban entre su cuarta y octava semana de edad. Las palomas en el grupo infectado se infectaron por vía intramuscular y oral con circovirus de las palomas purificado a partir de aves infectadas naturalmente, mientras las aves en el grupo control recibieron un placebo. Para evaluar la posible influencia del circovirus de las palomas en el sistema inmune, ambos grupos se vacunaron de manera simultánea contra paramyxovirus de las palomas [(PMV-1) Lasovac plus, IDT, Dessau-Tornau, Germany]. La evaluación virológica semanal mostró un periodo virémico y la excreción del virus de desafío en palomas del grupo infectado. La replicación del circovirus de las palomas se comprobó mediante hallazgos histológicos de cuerpos de inclusión multiglobulares, principalmente en los macrófagos de la bolsa de Fabricio. Mediante la prueba de reacción en cadena por la polimerasa se detectó en el grupo control un circovirus de las palomas diferente al virus utilizado en el experimento, sin embargo, no se observaron hallazgos histológicos comparables con los observados en el grupo infectado. Independi

Volker Schmidt, Julian Schlömer, Caroline Lüken, Reimar Johne, Barbara Biere, Hermann Müller, and Maria-Elisabeth Krautwald-Junghanns "Experimental Infection of Domestic Pigeons with Pigeon Circovirus," Avian Diseases 52(3), 380-386, (1 September 2008).
Received: 7 December 2007; Accepted: 1 February 2008; Published: 1 September 2008

pigeon circovirus
young pigeon disease syndrome
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