Specific-pathogen-free Turkey model for reoviral arthritis

John M. Ngunjiri, Amir Ghorbani, Hyesun Jang, Sumyya Waliullah, Mohamed Elaish, Michael C. Abundo, Mahesh KC, Kara J.M. Taylor, Robert E. Porter, Chang Won Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Turkey arthritis reovirus (TARV) infections have been recognized since 2011 to cause disease and significant economic losses to the U.S. turkey industry. Reoviral arthritis has been reproduced in commercial-origin turkeys. However, determination of pathogenesis or vaccine efficacy in these turkeys can be complicated by enteric reovirus strains and other pathogens that ubiquitously exist at subclinical levels among commercial turkey flocks. In this study, turkeys from a specific-pathogen-free (SPF) flock were evaluated for use as a turkey reoviral arthritis model. One-day-old or 1-week-old poults were orally inoculated with TARV (O'Neil strain) and monitored for disease onset and progression. A gut isolate of turkey reovirus (MN1 strain) was also tested for comparison. Disease was observed only in TARV-infected birds. Features of reoviral arthritis in SPF turkeys included swelling of hock joints, tenosynovitis, distal tibiotarsal cartilage erosion, and gait defects (lameness). Moreover, TARV infection resulted in a significant depression of body weights during the early times post-infection. Age-dependent susceptibility to TARV infection was unclear. TARV was transmitted to all sentinel birds, which manifested high levels of tenosynovitis and tibiotarsal cartilage erosion. Simulation of stressful conditions by dexamethasone treatment did not affect the viral load or exacerbate the disease. Collectively, the clinical and pathological features of reoviral arthritis in the SPF turkey model generally resembled those induced in commercial turkeys under field and/or experimental conditions. The SPF turkey reoviral arthritis model will be instrumental in evaluation of TARV pathogenesis and reoviral vaccine efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Dr. Juliette Hanson, Sara Tallmadge, and Dennis Hartzler for assistance with animal welfare. This work was supported in part by funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Avian reovirus
  • Specific pathogen free turkey model
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Turkey arthritis reovirus
  • Viral arthritis


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