1 Department of Animal Science - Immunology and microbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University2 Department of Animal Health and Bioscience, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus University3 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University4 Department of Animal Science - Immunology and microbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University5 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) plays a major role in the immune response as a soluble pattern-recognition receptor. MBL deficiency and susceptibility to different types of infections have been subject to extensive studies over the last decades. In humans and chickens, several studies have shown that MBL participates in the protection of hosts against virus infections. Infectious bronchitis (IB) is a highly contagious disease of economic importance in the poultry industry caused by the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). MBL has earlier been described to play a potential role in the pathogenesis of IBV infection and the production of IBV-specific antibodies, which may be exploited in optimising IBV vaccine strategies. The present study shows that MBL has the capability to bind to IBV in vitro. Chickens from two inbred lines (L10H and L10L) selected for high or low MBL serum concentrations, respectively, were vaccinated against IBV with or without the addition of the MBL ligands mannan, chitosan and fructooligosaccharide (FOS). The addition of MBL ligands to the IBV vaccine, especially FOS, enhanced the production of IBV-specific IgG antibody production in L10H chickens, but not L10L chickens after the second vaccination. The addition of FOS to the vaccine also increased the number of circulating CD4+ cells in L10H chickens compared to L10L chickens. The L10H chickens as well as the L10L chickens also showed an increased number of CD4−CD8α−γδ T-cells when an MBL ligand was added to the vaccine, most pronouncedly after the first vaccination. As MBL ligands co-administered with IBV vaccine induced differences between the two chicken lines, these results indirectly suggest that MBL is involved in the immune response to IBV vaccination. Furthermore, the higher antibody response in L10H chickens receiving vaccine and FOS makes FOS a potential adjuvant candidate in an IBV vaccine.