In ovo delivery of CpG DNA reduces avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus induced mortality and morbidity.
Endosomal toll-like receptor-21 and -9 sense CpG DNA activating production of pro-inflammatory mediators with antimicrobial effects. Here, we investigated the induction of antiviral response of in ovo delivered CpG DNA against infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) infection. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces ILTV infection pre-hatch correlating with the expression of IL-1β and increase of macrophages in lungs. As assessed in vitro, CpG DNA stimulated avian macrophages could be a potential source of IL-1β and other pro-inflammatory mediators. Since we also found that in ovo CpG DNA delivery maintains increased macrophages in the lungs post-hatch, we infected the chickens on the day of hatch with ILTV. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces mortality and morbidity resulting from ILTV infection encountered post-hatch. Thus, CpG DNA can be a candidate innate immune stimulant worthy of further investigation for the control of ILTV infection in chickens.