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Table 3 Identification of immune cell populations in chicken blood and putative functions in anti-viral immunity

From: Assessment of trade-offs between feed efficiency, growth-related traits, and immune activity in experimental lines of layer chickens

Immune system Blood immune cell populationsa Cell surface markers (labeled with monoclonal antibodies)b Functionsc
Innate Myeloid cells   Immediate non-specific response
  Heterophils CD45dim population, no specific marker Inflammation, phagocytosis, anti-microbial activity
  Monocytes CD45bright population KUL01+ Inflammation, phagocytosis, anti-microbial activity; antigen presentation
Adaptive Lymphocytes CD45bright populations Delayed response, virus-specific memory triggered after vaccination
  T cellsd Including all CD4+, CD8α+, TCRγδ+  
    TCRγδ+ CD8α+ or CD8α Interface between innate and adaptive immunity
    TCRγδ   Delayed response, virus-specific memory triggered after vaccination
    Helper CD4+ Help for anti-viral specific antibody and cytotoxic responses
    Cytotoxic CD8α+ Anti-viral specific cytotoxic responses and IFN-γ production
  B cells BU1+ Specific antibody (neutralizing) production
  1. aFACS analysis was performed according to Seliger et al. [40]. NK cells and myeloid dendritic cells were not tested because they are not well characterized in chicken blood and are assumed to be rare (less than 1% of leucocytes)
  2. bReferences for monoclonal antibodies are in Seliger et al. [40]
  3. cFunctions of immune cell populations are indicative. More details are available in the book Avian Immunology [96]
  4. dExpressions of the T cell receptor (TCR) αβ and γδ are mutually exclusive. TCRαβ is involved in antigen peptide recognition after presentation via MHC I/II molecules. TCRγδ is involved in recognition of a variety of antigens (including peptides, lipids, glycol-lipids, and phospho-antigens). The FACS strategy to separate helper and cytotoxic T cells in chicken blood was based on the expression or the absence of expression of TCRγδ [40]. The CD4+ helper T cell subset expresses only TCRαβ (not tested). CD8α+ T cells express TCRγδ or TCRαβ (not tested), the latter of which includes anti-viral cytotoxic T cells. TCRγδ+ T cells include CD8α+ and CD8α T cell subsets that may display cytotoxic activity against tumor cells and/or IFN-γ production