Clodronate treatment significantly depletes macrophages in chickens.
Macrophages function as phagocytes and antigen-presenting cells in the body. As has been demonstrated in mammals, administration of clodronate [dichloromethylene bisphosphonate (Cl2MBP)] encapsulated liposomes results in depletion of macrophages. Although this compound has been used in chickens, its effectiveness in depleting macrophages has yet to be fully determined. Here, we show that a single administration of clodronate liposomes to chickens results in a significant depletion of macrophages within the spleen and lungs of chickens up to 4 d post-treatment. This finding suggests that, in order to obtain depletion of macrophages in chickens for greater than 5 d, it is necessary to administer clodronate liposomes 4 d apart. The study also showed that 2 treatments of clodronate liposomes at 4-day intervals resulted in the depletion of macrophages for up to 10 d. The findings of the present study will encourage more precise studies to be done on the potential roles of macrophages in immune responses and in the pathogenesis of microbial infections in chickens.