Characterization of the Immunological Response to Dermanyssus gallinae Infestation in Domestic Fowl

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-110
Journal / PublicationTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Issue number1-2
Online published23 Apr 2010
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


Dermanyssus gallinae is a haematophagous ectoparasite of birds, which adversely affects both production and welfare of commercial poultry. Poultry in commercial production systems chronically exposed to D. gallinae do not appear to develop immunity to the mite. The objective of the current study was to determine the initial immune response of domestic fowl following exposure to D. gallinae. Two groups of birds (11 birds/group) had mite chambers secured to their backs. Controls received no mites, while infested birds received 200 unfed female D. gallinae on day 0 which were then removed on day 1 or 2. Spleen samples were collected on days)1, 1, 2 and 5. The expression of Th1 (IFNγ, CXCLi2, IL6 and IL18), Th2 (IL4, IL10 and IL13) cytokines/chemokines normalized against a reference gene, GAPDH, were determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Although there were no significant differences between treatments, numerical trends were observed. Th2 cytokine expression was not detected in any birds on any day. IL6, CXCLi2, IFNγ and IL18 expression was increased on day 1 in the infested group, while on day 2 CXCLi2 and IFNγ were lower and IL6 and IL18 levels were similar between treatments. The IL18 expression was similar between treatments on day 5, while IL6 and IFNγ levels were increased and CXCLi2 expression was decreased in the infested group. Data suggest that D. gallinae feeding stimulates Th1 and pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines initially (day 1) followed by their subsequent down regulation. This study is the first report of the characterization of the immunological response of the domestic fowl to controlled numbers of D. gallinae.

Research Area(s)

  • Chicken, Dermanyssus gallinae, Ectoparasite, Feeding, Immunity