In ovo vitelline duct ligation results in transient changes of bursal microenvironments

Balázs Felföldi, Gergely Imre, Botond Igyártó, Judit Iván, Rudolf Mihalik, Erzsébet Lackó, Imre Oláh, Attila Magyar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The avian bursa of Fabricius has a direct connection to the cloaca via the bursal duct. Using the bursal duct ligation technique, it has been clearly shown that the B cells of the bursal follicles develop under the influence of cloacal antigens. These antigens have been suggested to be present on the bursal secretory dendritic cells in immunoglobulin G (IgG)-containing complexes. We studied the effect of maternal (yolk) antigens on the early development of B cells and the appearance of IgG-containing complexes of the bursal dendritic cells with a novel embryo manipulation technique, in ovo vitelline duct ligation. This operation blocked the direct (intestinal) transport of yolk substances into the intestine, but left the vitelline circulation intact. Vitelline duct ligation performed on embryonic day 17 resulted in serious but transient bursal underdevelopment during the first week of life: (1) IgG and the follicular dendritic cell marker 74-3 were not detectable on the bursal secretory dendritic cells, in spite of a normal serum IgG level and free communication with the cloacal lumen; (2) the number of B cells in the follicles was greatly reduced and they showed an altered phenotype, resembling that of the prebursal B cells. The intracloacal administration of different proteins effectively restored the bursal phenotype. These data suggest that maternal antigens indirectly help the maturation of bursal secretory dendritic cells and concomitantly that of B cells during the first week of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • B cells
  • Bursa
  • Chicken
  • Dendritic cells
  • Vitelline duct


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