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Angila Gurung - Top 30 Publications

Association of Marek's Disease induced immunosuppression with activation of a novel regulatory T cells in chickens.

Marek's Disease Virus (MDV) is an alphaherpesvirus that infects chickens, transforms CD4+ T cells and causes deadly lymphomas. In addition, MDV induces immunosuppression early during infection by inducing cell death of the infected lymphocytes, and potentially due to activation of regulatory T (Treg)-cells. Furthermore, immunosuppression also occurs during the transformation phase of the disease; however, it is still unknown how the disease can suppress immune response prior or after lymphoma formation. Here, we demonstrated that chicken TGF-beta+ Treg cells are found in different lymphoid tissues, with the highest levels found in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (cecal tonsil: CT), fostering an immune-privileged microenvironment exerted by TGF-beta. Surprisingly, significantly higher frequencies of TGF-beta+ Treg cells are found in the spleens of MDV-susceptible chicken lines compared to the resistant line, suggesting an association between TGF-beta+ Treg cells and host susceptibility to lymphoma formation. Experimental infection with a virulent MDV elevated the levels of TGF-beta+ Treg cells in the lungs as early as 4 days post infection, and during the transformation phase of the disease in the spleens. In contrast to TGF-beta+ Treg cells, the levels of CD4+CD25+ T cells remained unchanged during the infection and transformation phase of the disease. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that the induction of TGF-beta+ Treg cells is associated with pathogenesis of the disease, as the vaccine strain of MDV did not induce TGF-beta+ Treg cells. Similar to human haematopoietic malignant cells, MDV-induced lymphoma cells expressed high levels of TGF-beta but very low levels of TGF-beta receptor I and II genes. The results confirm that COX-2/ PGE2 pathway is involved in immunosuppression induced by MDV-lymphoma cells. Taken together, our results revealed a novel TGF-beta+ Treg subset in chickens that is activated during MDV infection and tumour formation.

Marek's disease in chickens: a review with focus on immunology.

Marek's disease (MD), caused by Marek's disease virus (MDV), is a commercially important neoplastic disease of poultry which is only controlled by mass vaccination. Importantly, vaccines that can provide sterile immunity and inhibit virus transmission are lacking; such that vaccines are only capable of preventing neuropathy, oncogenic disease and immunosuppression, but are unable to prevent MDV transmission or infection, leading to emergence of increasingly virulent pathotypes. Hence, to address these issues, developing more efficacious vaccines that induce sterile immunity have become one of the important research goals for avian immunologists today. MDV shares very close genomic functional and structural characteristics to most mammalian herpes viruses such as herpes simplex virus (HSV). MD also provides an excellent T cell lymphoma model for gaining insights into other herpesvirus-induced oncogenesis in mammals and birds. For these reasons, we need to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the host-viral interaction and host immunity against MD. Similarly, the underlying genetic variation within different chicken lines has a major impact on the outcome of infection. In this review article, we aim to investigate the pathogenesis of MDV infection, host immunity to MD and discuss areas of research that need to be further explored.