Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 isolates from the spinal cord of parrots display a very low virulence

Grund, Christian GND; Werner, Ortrud GND; Gelderblom, H.R.; Grimm, F.; Kösters, J.

The spinal cord of 32 psittacines suffering from proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) was investigated. In six cases, a virus was isolated which upon electron microscopic examination revealed morphological details typical of members of the Paramyxoviridae. All isolates were subsequently characterized as avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1) by type-specific polyclonal antisera. According to their reactivity with APMV-1 specific monoclonal antibodies, the six isolates shared epitopes within the haemagglutinin-neuraminidase spike protein, distinct from pigeon-type paramyxoviruses and the LaSota vaccine strain. This grouping was further corroborated by properties of the haemagglutinin: all isolates showed a very thermosensitive haemagglutination activity and were rapid eluters. Virulence of the APMV-1 isolates in 1-day-old specific pathogen free (spf) chicken was very low, with intracerebral pathogenicity indices between 0 and 0.1. In embryonated spf chicken eggs, psittacine isolates replicated to high titres (10(8.6)-10(10.7) EID50/ml). However, they exhibited a reduced lethality over an observation time of 7 days (10(6.1)-10(8.3) ELD50/ml). In a haemagglutination inhibition test with parrot sera from birds with no history of APMV-1 vaccination, sera reacted preferentially with two isolates compared with APMV-1 vaccine strains LaSota and B1. The other four isolates exhibited a differentiated reaction pattern with the parrot sera, indicating an antigenic inhomogeneity. This is the first report of isolating very low virulent APMV-1 from neuronal tissue of parrots and implications for a possible role in slow progressing disease will be discussed

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Grund, Christian / Werner, Ortrud / Gelderblom, H.R. / et al: Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 isolates from the spinal cord of parrots display a very low virulence. 2002.

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