Underwood Fellowship: Initiation of anti-Eimeria immune responses in the chick gut: role of epithelium and T lymphocytes in acquired immunity

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


There is a wealth of data describing the induction of immune responses following infection with the Eimeria species. However many of these responses do not provide protection against infection. To successfully implement a vaccination strategy against coccidial parasites at least 2 issues need to be investigated (1) identification of protective antigens in the respective Eimeria species and (2) the mechanisms by which the parasite infects the gut epithelium and initiates protective immunity. This project addresses the latter issue. In spite of the intensive research into Eimeria related immunity very little is known of the initial host responses that are induced by infection. Furthermore the preference of Eimeria for selective niches in the digestive tract is well know however there is no moleclalr evidence to explain this preference. The fact that T cell immunity is essential for protection against Eimeria is now well established while at the same time the requirements needed to induce protective T cell immunity have yet to be determined. The objectives of the project are to: (a) determine the nature of intestinal epithelial response to challenge with Eimeria spp and (b) determine the stimulatory potential of infected gut epithellium on recruitment and function of Eimeria reponsive T lymphocytes.


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