Cellular immune response of ducks to duck hepatitis B virus infection

Karen Vickery*, Yvonne Cossart, Robert Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) has been a useful model for hepadnavirus infection. There have been few studies on immunity to DHBV and none describing the cell-mediated immune response by acute and chronically infected ducks. A duck hepatitis B antigen-specific blastogenesis assay was used to measure DHBV antigen-specific responses of duck peripheral blood (PBMC) and splenic mononuclear cells (SMCs) from uninfected control ducks, ducks acutely or chronically infected with DHBV, and ducks immune to DHBV. A comparison of the group mean responses by PBMC to DHBV surface antigen (DHBsAg) found that the immune group was significantly different to the other three groups (controls or unexposed, P < 0.0001; acutely infected, P < 0.01; chronically infected, P < 0.01). The responses to DHBsAg by PBMC of the acute group (P < 0.01) were significantly different also to that of the unexposed group. For DHBV core antigen (DHBcAg), significant differences in the responses were found between immune ducks and unexposed (P < 0.0005) and acutely infected (P < 0.05) groups. The SMC showed a significant difference between unexposed ducks and immune ducks (P< 0.05) in the group mean responses to DHBsAg. The responses to DHBcAg were significantly different between the immune group and the acute (P < 0.01) and unexposed (P < 0.01) groups. The group mean of unexposed ducks was also significantly different to that of acutely infected ducks (P < 0.01). This study indicates that the cellular immune response in immune animals differs from acutely and chronically infected ducks. Further studies of these differences may provide some explanations for the differing outcomes of DHBV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen-specific blastogenesis
  • Cell-mediated immunity
  • Hepadnavirus


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