Tissues of 10 psittacines from aviary 1 ("case birds") and 5 psittacines from different aviaries were investigated for the presence of Avian bornavirus (ABV) antigen by immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal serum specific for the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein. Seven of 10 case birds had clinical signs, and necropsy findings consistent with proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) while 3 case birds and the 5 birds from other aviaries did not exhibit signs and lesions of this disease. In birds with clinical signs of PDD, ABV antigen was largely limited to neuroectodermal cells including neurons, astroglia, and ependymal cells of the central nervous system, neurons of the peripheral nervous system, and adrenal cells. ABV antigen was present in the nuclei and cytoplasm of infected cells. In 2 case birds that lacked signs and lesions of PDD, viral antigen had a more widespread distribution and was present in nuclei and cytoplasm of epithelial cells of the alimentary and urogenital tract, retina, heart, skeletal muscle, and skin in addition to the mentioned neuroectodermal cells. ABV RNA was identified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in tissues of all 7 case birds available for testing from aviary 1, including 4 birds with PDD lesions and the 3 birds without PDD lesions. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis indicated the presence of ABV genotype 1 in all cases. Findings further substantiate a role of ABV in PDD of psittacine bird species.
- Avian bornavirus
- proventricular dilatation disease