A novel way to study key poultry infections and aid the development of vaccines has been developed by researchers at The Roslin Institute in the U.K. and the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food & Environment (INRAE).
Their approach can be used to study the respiratory tract of poultry, which is an important entry route for disease and delivery method for vaccines, Roslin said in an announcement. The approach also potentially reduces the number of animals required for scientific studies.
The Roslin and INRAE researchers studied adult chicken lung samples recovered using a method known as precision-cut lung slicing. These cross-sections of lung tissue can mimic the whole lung in a live bird, the scientists found. The samples remained viable for testing over several weeks, enabling researchers to track their response to treatments over time, the announcement said.
The approach can generate tens to hundreds of thin samples from a single organ.
The team found that immune cells in the tissue were suitable for testing their response to vaccines or disease treatment.
They also worked out the optimum culture conditions in which to preserve the shape and mixed populations of cells in samples.
Dr. Karen Bryson with Roslin said, "These samples can be applied to a range of research and are especially useful to investigate respiratory infections. We are currently using these samples to understand flu, help us find new treatments and understand why some chickens can cope with viruses while other chickens cannot."
The study, published in Veterinary Research, was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Program, along with a collaboration between the U.K.'s Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.