Criteria for evaluating genetic differences in resistance and susceptibility to infectious bursal disease (IBD) within a commercial broiler breeder line of chickens were compared. Line A broiler breeder chickens were challenged with graded doses of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) strain IBD virus (IBDV) and evaluated at 2 time points, 3 days postinoculation (PI) and 10 days PI. Measures obtained at both time points included bursa to body weight, bursa histology, bursa lymphocyte count, and percentage of T cells in the bursa. Furthermore, viral load in the bursa was determined 3 days PI and anti-IBDV antibody titers, 10 days PI. A dose of 50 50% embryo infective dose caused IBD in about half the line A birds at the 10-day time point, and this dose was chosen for further studies. The data were analyzed for correlation among the various measures. Comparison of the 3-day- and 10-day-PI bursa lymphocyte counts indicated that birds challenged with low doses of virus suffered lymphocyte depletion at the 3-day time point, but many or all (depending on the dose) recovered by the 10-day time point. With a viral dose that caused bursal atrophy in about half the birds by 10 days PI, families segregating for 2 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) haplotypes were compared in terms of resistance to IBD. Results indicated that there was no difference among the 3 MHC genotypes in incidence of IBD by any of the disease measures.

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