Section 69
Chapter 68,705

Stunting syndrome in turkey poults: isolation and identification of the etiologic agent

Ali, A.; Reynolds, D.L.

Avian Diseases 41(4): 870-881


ISSN/ISBN: 0005-2086
PMID: 9454921
DOI: 10.2307/1592341
Accession: 068704100

Stunting syndrome (SS) is an enteric disease of turkey poults that causes high morbidity including reduced growth, impaired feed efficiency, and diarrhea. The etiologic agent of this disease has not been previously reported. The objectives of the present study were to identify, isolate, and purify the etiologic agent of SS. Day-old poults were orally inoculated with a SS-inducing inoculum. The intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) were isolated on the fourth day postinoculation. The IECs were lysed and filtered through 0.2-, 0.1-, and 0.02-micron filters. The cell lysate filtrate (0.1 micron) was subjected to density gradient ultracentrifugation. Intact IECs, filtrates from IECs (0.2, 0.1, and 0.02 micron ), and IEC lysate fractions from gradients (FRG) were used as inocula to infect day-old turkey poults. The weight gain, jejunal maltase activity, and gross intestinal lesions were used as the parameters of evaluation. Weight gain and maltase activity were reduced (P = 0.001) by the isolated IECs, 0.2 and 0.1 micron filtrates, and FRG when compared with corresponding controls. IEC lysate filtrate (0.1 micron) and FRG were examined under transmission electron microscope (EM). Enveloped, pleomorphic particles varying in size from 60 to 95 nm were observed and termed stunting syndrome agent (SSA). Primary cultures of turkey IECs were used to further isolate and propagate the SSA. Following the fifth passage in the turkey IECs, the cell lysate induced SS in day-old poults. SSA particles were observed under EM after the fifth passage. The results of this study provide evidence that a viral agent has been isolated and identified from IECs of SS-infected poults and is the etiologic agent of SS.

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