Natural killer (NK) cells are cytotoxic lymphocytes and play an important role in the early defence against viruses. In this study we focussed on NK cell and interferon (IFN) responses after infection with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). Based on surface expression of CD107+, enhanced activation of lung NK cells was observed at 1 dpi, whereas in blood prolonged NKcell activation was found. IFN- and IFN- mRNA and proteins were not rapidly induced whereas IFN- production in lung, measured by Elispot assay, increased over time at 2 and 4 dpi. In contrast, IFN- production in blood was highest at 1 dpi and decreased over time down to levels comparable to uninfected birds at 4 dpi. Collectively, infection with IBV-M41 resulted in activation of NK cells in the lung and blood and rapid production of IFN- and not IFN- and IFN- compared to uninfected birds
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